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Updated from 4:46 p.m. EDT


Dow Jones Industrial Average

fought its way to its best-ever close Tuesday, eclipsing a record that had stood for more than six and a half years.

Helped by plummeting crude oil prices, the Dow finished at 11,727.34, up 56.99 points, or 0.49% on the day, surpassing the previous record of 11,722.98 that was set on Jan. 14, 2000.

During the session, it went to 11,758.95, an all-time intraday benchmark, before retreating late. Still, the gain was enough to give the index the highest close in its 110-year history.

The Dow, which had threatened to reach a new top several times in recent days, was carried by gains of 1.9% or more in


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JPMorgan Chase

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. Overall, 23 of the 30 components ended in positive territory.

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Even if the market is unable to continue its ascent, a new record for the industrials is impressive in that it demonstrates the remarkable ability of stocks to recover from unimaginable turmoil.

At various points in the intervening years, this day would have been practically unthinkable as Wall Street was shaken by such market-altering events as the bursting of the tech bubble, the Enron and WorldCom scandals, and the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that profoundly changed the landscape and the psychology of Lower Manhattan.

"It's not just that the Dow is going to an all-time high," said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment officer with Windham Financial. "A lot of sectors are breaking out to records, giving us some good rotational activity. When you drop almost $2 in one day on crude prices, we should expect this type of huge move."

To view Farnoosh Torabi's trader interview about the Dow's record close, click here

Crude futures dropped $2.35 to close at $58.68 a barrel, its lowest close since July 2005. Oil's two-day decline has brought prices down $4.23, or 6.7%. Lehman Brothers downgraded the oil and gas sector to negative, and Merrill Lynch cut the energy sector to underweight.

Perked up by the Dow and the selloff in crude, the other major indices rose, as well. The

S&P 500

added 2.79 points, or 0.21%, to 1334.11, and the

Nasdaq Composite

tacked on 6.05 points, or 0.27%, at 2243.65. Both of those measures are some distance from their highs -- the S&P by more than 10% and the Nasdaq by roughly 55%.

Volume improved from Monday's levels. About 2.65 billion shares changed hands on the

New York Stock Exchange

and around 1.99 billion traded on the Nasdaq. Winners and losers were practically even.

Not everyone, though, was ready to celebrate the move.

"Regardless of the new high, the action is a little disappointing during the run higher," said Barry Hyman, equity market strategist with EKN Financial. "Volume has been down, the breadth has been slipping, and the clear indications show the dependence on oil. Hopefully we'll see fresh money into the market instead of a rotational pull. There's still a lot of doubt."

With no economic data on the docket, Treasuries were mostly unchanged. The benchmark 10-year note was down 1/32 in price to yield 4.61%. The dollar weakened against the euro and rose against the Japanese yen. Elsewhere, gold tumbled by $21.80 to $581.50 an ounce. Silver lost 60 cents to close at $11.04 an ounce.

After the close of trading Monday, chipmaker


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said its third-quarter revenue will be lower than expected and indicated that it will restate its past financial results because of discrepancies in its prior stock-option grants. Those developments sent the shares sliding 12% to end the session at $16.80.

Also providing a forecast was bankrupt carrier

Northwest Airlines

( NWACQ), which said it should have a modest profit for the full year despite a softening in revenue since September and an expected loss for the last four months of 2006. Shares tacked on 5 cents, or 7.7%, to 70 cents.

Pepsi Bottling Group

( PBG) posted a third-quarter profit of $207 million, or 86 cents a share, up 1% from last year. Results included a 4-cent-a-share loss from stock-based compensation and a 5-cents-a-share gain from changes to its taxes. Revenue rose to $3.46 billion, up 7.7% from a year ago.

The Thomson First Call consensus was for EPS of 81 cents on revenue of $3.41 billion. However, Pepsi Bottling dropped $2.46, or 7%, to $32.77 on weak guidance and a downgrade by Deutsche Bank.

The phone-record snooping scandal at


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had CEO Mark Hurd in the headlines again, this time in the form a

Wall Street Journal

report that said he might have known about the program being used to plug boardroom leaks as early as July 2005.

However, citing a memo from an outside law firm, the report said Hurd doesn't appear to have known that H-P investigators were using potentially illegal techniques. H-P finished lower by 24 cents, or 0.6%, to $37.42.

Retailers began posting same-store sales results for September.



said comp sales rose 8.5% in September, while


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said same-store sales were up 16% for the month.

Kohl's also raised its third-quarter earnings estimate to a range between 56 cents and 59 cents a share. Currently, the average estimate stands at 56 cents a share. Kohl's jumped $2.04, or 3.1%, to $67.53.

Department store chain


( FD) said it has completed the sale of its Lord & Taylor division to NRDC Equity Partners for the final adjusted sale price of $1.08 billion, down from the initial sale price of $1.2 billion. Federated shares climbed 35 cents, or 0.8%, to finish at $43.49.

The retailers combined to help the S&P Retail Index add 1.8%. In other sectors, the Amex Airline Index gained 3.1%, the Dow Jones Transportation Average finished higher by 0.8%, and the Philadelphia Semiconductor Sector Index lost 1.1%. The Philadelphia Oil Service Sector Index was lower by 4.4%, and the Amex Oil Index was down 3.6%.

Automakers posted monthly sales results for September.

General Motors

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reported a 3.1% decline for the month, while


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saw sales rise 4.7%.


( DCX) said auto sales fell 2.3% in September.

On the research front, Credit Suisse upgraded

RF Micro Devices


to outperform from neutral and lifted


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to neutral from underperform. Stifel Nicolaus also raised its rating on Skyworks.

Overseas, Europe's equities fell on Tuesday. London's FTSE 100 lost 0.4% to 5937, and Frankfurt's Xetra DAX eased 0.1% to 5992. Asia's shares were mixed, with Tokyo's Nikkei ending off 0.1% to 16,242 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng higher by 0.4% to 17,606.