- Associated Press - Monday, November 11, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) — The Dow Jones industrial average held at a record high on Wall Street on Monday.

The market edged higher from Friday, when it got a lift from an unexpectedly strong U.S. jobs report for October. The surge in hiring made investors more optimistic that the U.S. economy is getting stronger.

Stock trading was muted as bond markets were closed for Veterans Day. Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange held a moment of silence in observance of the holiday.

The Dow has advanced for five straight weeks and is up 20 percent so far this year. The last time the Dow had a bigger advance for a whole year was 2003, when it rose 25 percent.

Other major indexes also have surged. Stocks have been propelled higher this year by economic stimulus from the Federal Reserve, a gradually improving economy and rising company earnings.

Given that the market is “up hugely” this year, investors may be hesitant to put more money into stocks, said Andres Garcia-Amaya, a global market strategist at JPMorgan Funds. “At the same time, I don’t think people are going to leave at this point,” he said.

The Dow was up 19 points, or 0.1 percent, to 15,781 as of 3:05 p.m. EST. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was flat at 1,771. The Nasdaq composite rose three points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 3,922.

Investors this week will look for evidence that Americans are ready to start spending for the holidays. Macy’s, Wal-Mart, Nordstrom and Kohl’s are scheduled to report their quarterly results.

About 90 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 have released their third-quarter earnings, and the majority beat the expectations of Wall Street analysts, according to data from S&P Capital IQ.

Earnings are forecast to grow by 5.6 percent in the July-to-September period, compared with 4.9 percent in the second quarter and 2.4 percent in the similar period a year earlier.

Investors will be following closely the Senate Banking Committee’s confirmation hearing for Janet Yellen on Thursday. Mrs. Yellen has been nominated to succeed Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, becoming the first woman to lead the U.S. central bank.

Mrs. Yellen’s testimony “is coming at an important inflection point” for financial markets as the Fed considers pulling back on its stimulus, said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial. The Fed currently is buying $85 billion of bonds every month and holding its benchmark interest rate close to zero to stimulate economic growth.

“The market will be looking for any clues” about the Fed’s policy going forward, Mr. Krosby said.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note jumped last week to 2.75 percent, the highest in six weeks, after the government reported last month’s surge in hiring.

In commodities trading, the price of oil rose 54 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $95.14 a barrel. The price of gold fell $3.50, or 0.3 percent, to $1,281.10 an ounce.

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