Analysts said investors were upbeat about an economic recovery, but some were cashing in profits because of concern the market's recent surge might have come too fast, too soon.
"The economic activity is slow to improve but the market is optimistic," said John Forelli, portfolio manager for Independence Investment LLC in Boston. "For the market, the glass is half-full - as opposed to three-quarters empty as it had been for a while."
The Dow closed up 47.55, or 0.5 percent, at 8,897.81.
Earlier, the blue chips rose as much as 153 points to hit 9,003.27. The last time the Dow rose above 9,000 was Dec. 2, 2002; the last time the index closed above 9,000 was Aug. 22, 2002, when it climbed to 9,053.64.
The broader market finished mixed. The Nasdaq composite index fell 5.16, or 0.3 percent, to 1,590.75. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 3.41, or 0.4 percent, to 967.00.
The Institute for Supply Management reported Monday that its manufacturing index was 49.4 percent last month, up from 45.4 in April. A reading below 50 means manufacturing activity is slowing; still, the figure was better than the 48.5 that economists were expecting.
However, the Commerce Department said spending on construction projects dipped by 0.3 percent in April from March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $862.6 billion. It was the third straight month that spending fell and was weaker than the 0.2 increase analysts were expecting.
By Hope Yen