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Dow hits record 25,000 as U.S. markets open higher

Behind the stock market surge

Still in 2018's first week, the stock market just clinched yet another record: 25,000 on the Dow Jones industrials index. That comes after the blue-chip benchmark cleared 24,000 barely more than a month ago. It closed on Wednesday at 24,923, its latest record high, after ending 2017 with a robust gain of more than 25 percent.

In early trading, the Dow was at 25,089, up 167 points, or 0.7 percent. The broader S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite index were also trading higher, highlighting the momentum in financial markets energized by healthy economic growth and tax cuts passed in December

"While the number is largely of psychological importance, it does allow people to take stock of how far this market has come," Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer with the Independent Advisor Alliance, said in a note. "I do believe we'll see 30,000 before this bull market ends, but we are going to have a lot more turbulence between now and that next large round number."

Stocks had a historically strong year in 2017, with the S&P 500 recording gains in all 12 months -- the first time that's happened. December also marked a record 14th consecutive month of increases, with the index rising in 21 out of the last 22 months.

The bull market, which started its climb in 2009 following the financial crisis, has been powered of late by renewed economic growth and a robust labor market. Unemployment has fallen to 4.1 percent, the lowest level in 18 years. Analysts with Barclays Capital forecast that above-trend growth will take the jobless rate to well under 3 percent.

Markets around the world were feeling similarly positive. Global stocks rose on Thursday after healthy economic data from Europe and China, while shares in chipmaker Intel (INTC) were expected to fall again over a data security scare.

France's CAC 40 added 1.4 percent to 5,411, while Germany's DAX gained 1.4 percent to 13,164. Britain's FTSE 100 edged 0.3 percent higher to 7,696. In the U.S., the S&P 500 added 0.5 percent.

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A survey of the manufacturing and services sectors in the 19-country eurozone saw business activity rise in December to its highest in nearly seven years. The survey suggests the bloc's economic upswing is still gathering pace and is shared across the region.

A similar survey in China of the services sector also rose, unexpectedly. That suggests the country will be more resilient to a slowdown in industrial production.

Shares in Intel fell 3.4 percent on Wednesday and were down another 4.6 percent in early trading Thursday after security researchers at Google (GOOG) discovered serious security flaws in its computer processors. Though a fix was expected, it's unclear what other chipmakers might be affected. Rival AMD (AMD) said it believes its chips are safe and saw its shares rise 5.6 percent in early trading after a 5.2 percent gain the previous day.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 17 cents to $61.80 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It added $1.26 on Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oil, shed 2 cents to $67.82 a barrel in London.

The dollar rose to 112.62 yen from 112.36 yen. The euro rose to $1.2070 from $1.2014.

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