NEW YORK — Stock prices rose today, surging in late trading after moving through a narrow range for most of the day.
The Dow Jones average of 30 industrials rose 15.25 to 1,645.18, breaking the record close of 1,629.93 set in the previous session.
Gainers outpaced losers by about three to two on the New York Stock Exchange.
Big Board volume totaled 136.49 million shares, against 136.37 million in the previous session.
The NYSE's composite index rose 0.74 to a record 125.41.
At the American Stock Exchange, the market-value index was up 0.39 to 244.51.
For much of the session, stocks were little affected by a rally in the credit markets sparked by weak retail sales figures and low world oil prices.
Although falling interest rates have helped push the stock market to record levels on several market indexes over the past week, gains have been tempered by profit taking among traders who believe the market may be "overbought" and due for a downward correction, analysts said.
But analysts said that as today's trading continued with no sharp downturn in sight, buyers returned in force. Analysts also said that institutional buying programs triggered by advances late in the session may have accentuated the upsurge.
The Commerce Department reported that retail sales increased only 0.1% in January from the previous month, the smallest monthly rise since a 3.9% drop in October and lower than analysts had expected.
The weak figures aided a credit market rally which pushed interest rates lower on the notion that lower-than-expected economic growth could prompt the Federal Reserve Board to ease credit conditions.
In bond markets, prices rose and long-term interest rates fell.
The Treasury Department's key 30-year bond rose nearly 1/2 point, or $5 for each $1,000 in face amount.
Bond prices, which generally move in the opposite direction of interest rates and inflation, also have been buoyed by prospects of lower inflation due to the decline in oil prices.
In the secondary market for Treasury bonds, prices of short-term governments rose about 3/32 point, intermediate maturities rose 3/8 point and long-term issues were up nearly 1/2 point, according to the investment firm of Salomon Bros.
The Merrill Lynch daily Treasury index, which measures price movements on all outstanding Treasury issues with maturities of a year or longer, rose 0.20 to 111.41. The Shearson Lehman daily Treasury bond index, which makes a similar measurement, rose 1.82 to 1,168.32.
In corporate trading, industrials and utilities rose about 3/8 point in light to active trading.
Among tax-exempt municipal bonds, general obligations and revenue bonds rose point. Trading was moderate.
Yields on three-month Treasury bills were unchanged at 7.10%. Six-month bills rose one basis point to 7.19% and one-year bills were off two basis points at 7.18%. A basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point.
Yields on 30-year Treasury bonds fell to 9.09% from 9.13% late Wednesday.
The federal funds rate, the interest on overnight loans between banks, traded at 7.875%, down from 8.25% late Wednesday.