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Business Highlights

By The Associated Press

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S&P 500 closes at a record high, beating 2007 mark

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ For the second time in less than a month, the stock market marched past a milepost on its long, turbulent journey back from the Great Recession, toppling another record left over from the days before government bailouts and failing investment banks.

The Standard & Poor's 500 closed at a new high Thursday, three weeks after another popular market gauge, the Dow Jones industrial average, topped its own closing record. The S&P capped its best quarter in a year, rising 10 percent. The Dow had its best first quarter in 15 years, climbing 11 percent.

The reaction on Wall Street was muted â¿¿ more of a dull buzz than a victory cry. Investors warned clients not to get overly excited.

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Scooter ads face scrutiny from government, doctors

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ TV ads show smiling seniors enjoying an "active" lifestyle on a motorized scooter, taking in the sights at the Grand Canyon, fishing on a pier and high-fiving their grandchildren at a baseball game.

The commercials, which promise freedom and independence to people with limited mobility, have driven the nearly $1 billion U.S. market for power wheelchairs and scooters. But the ads from the industry's two leading companies, The Scooter Store and Hoveround, also have drawn scrutiny from doctors and lawmakers who say they make seniors think they need a scooter to get around when many don't.

Members of Congress say the ads lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in unnecessary spending by Medicare, which is only supposed to pay for scooters as a medical necessity when seniors are unable to use a cane, walker or regular wheelchair. Government inspectors say up to 80 percent of the scooters and power wheelchairs Medicare buys go to people who don't meet the requirements. And doctors say more than money is at stake: Seniors who use scooters unnecessarily can become sedentary, which can exacerbate obesity and other disorders.

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