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Dow notches ninth straight gain, longest since '96

Trader John Panin, left, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Investors are calling an end to the past week's remarkable rally, with many cashing in on stocks Wednesday despite more strong economic data out of the U.S. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Dow Jones industrial average has notched its ninth gain in a row, giving the index its longest winning streak in 16 years.

The Dow rose five points, or 0.04 percent, to close at 14,455 points Wednesday.

The Dow has risen every day so far in March, adding 400 points to the index. It broke through its previous all-time high on March 5th.

The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed two points to 1,554, a gain of 0.1 percent.

The Nasdaq composite edged up nearly three points to 3,245.

Retail stocks rose after the government reported an unexpectedly big increase in consumer spending last month.

Rising stocks outpaced falling ones on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was slightly lower than the recent average at 3 billion shares.