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Dow Jones Industrial Average Hits Record High

A key U.S. stock market index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, has risen above the symbolic 13,000 mark for the first time as strong corporate earnings encouraged investors.

The Dow rose as high as 13,037 points in early trading Wednesday, before easing downward.

The index crossed the historic milestone just 128 trading days after breaking 12,000 point level.

Higher than expected profit reports from many of the Dow's 30 listed companies increased investor confidence that U.S. businesses will remain strong despite slower economic growth. Aluminum manufacturer, Alcoa, was the Dow's best performer in today's trading.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a composite measure of what are called "blue-chip" stocks from the biggest U.S. companies in a variety of industries. Experts use the index to track basic trends in U.S. stock markets.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.