Wall Street: S&P 500 hits new high

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(Close): The S&P 500 index closed on Thursday night at a record high of 1,569, up 6 points or 0.4%. The last time it broke into new territory was on 9 October 2007 when it closed at 1,565.

The Dow Jones index was also up 0.4%, with a rise of 52 points taking it to a record 14,578.

The Nasdaq joined in the upbeat mood created by the smooth reopening of banks in Cyprus and generally positive economic news. It rose 11 points, or 0.3%, to close at 3,268.

The S&P has been near its record high for several weeks, despite the still sluggish performance of the US economy. This means it finishes the quarter 10% higher than its level at the beginning of the year and more than double its low point during the financial crisis.

Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank in Cleveland said that the new closing high "is a very appropriate punctuation for a great quarter that saw a lot of last year's anxieties recede."

However, Michael Mullaney, chief investment officer at Fiduciary Trust in Boston warned "we don't know how long we'll be at these levels."

In relatively light trading, the biggest gainers in the Dow Jones were two IT companies - IBM and Hewlett-Packard, both up over 1%. The biggest falls were by Chevron and JP Morgan Chase.

On the currency markets, the euro rose 0.4 cents to $1.282.

US markets will be shut for the Good Friday holiday.