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Dow and S&P 500 hit new record highs

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The largest equity markets in the US have reached new record highs after an uptick in manufacturing data boosted investor sentiment.

US factory orders rose 3% in February, the largest rise in five months, another signal the US economic recovery is gaining traction.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.6% or 89 points, to close at 14,662 after hitting a fresh intraday high of 14,684.49 earlier in the session.

The S&P 500 closed at a record high of 1,570. Its next milestone will be to surpass its all-time intraday high of 1,576.09, set in October 2007.

US equity markets have enjoyed a strong run since the start of the year, over which time the Dow has gained almost 12% and the S&P more than 10%.

Investor sentiment towards the market has improved markedly after a better than expected recovery in the US housing market.

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