NEW YORK -- After knocking on the door all week, the stock market logged a record on Thursday.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index had moved above its previous all-time high on numerous occasions this week, only to fade in afternoon trading. On Thursday, the index stayed higher after getting a boost from strong earnings reported by a number of U.S. companies including the drugmaker Mylan and several retailers.
The stock market has staged an impressive turnaround in February, after slumping at the start of the year on concerns about the prospects for growth in China and worries about the health of the U.S. economy. Growth in corporate earnings and optimism that the Federal Reserve will keep supporting the economy have helped support demand for stocks.
"In the last few days we’ve flirted with it, and now we’ve got the new high," said Ryan Detrick, a senior technical strategist at Schae-
ffer’s Investment Research.
The timing of the new record, just before the start of spring, could help the market extend its gains, Detrick said. March has been the third-strongest month over the last 30 years, with an average gain of 1.4 percent, according to the Stock Traders’ Almanac.
"It bodes well for equities for the next couple of months, at least," said Detrick.
The S&P 500 rose 9.13 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,854.29. Its previous record high close was 1,848.38, set on Jan. 15.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 74.24, or 0.5, percent, to 16,272.65. The Dow is still about 1.8 percent below its record close of 16,576.66. The Nasdaq composite climbed 26.87 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,318.93. The Nasdaq is also short of its record close of 5,048.62 set in March 2000.
On Thursday, generic drugmaker Mylan led the S&P 500 index higher after reporting an 11 percent increase in fourth-quarter earnings, beating analysts’ expectations despite higher expenses. Mylan’s stock climbed $4.85, or 9.4 percent, to $56.27.
Stocks also got a lift from a range of retailers that reported strong earnings.