NEW YORK -- The Dow Jones industrial average topped its all-time closing high during Tuesday's trading session, putting it on track for its highest daily finish since 2007 and erasing the last of the blue-chip index's losses incurred during the financial crisis and crippling recession.
The Dow rose in early trading Tuesday, gaining 63.81 points, or 0.45%, to 14,191.63.
The index's record-high close is 14,164.53 points, which it set Oct. 9, 2007, before a painful bear market sent the gauge plunging over the next 17 months to 6,547.05. Since that March 2009 low, the 30-stock average is now up more than 115%.
It's been a long, if halting, rally since the financial crisis threw the world's economy into chaos. Unemployment has slowly declined. Corporate balance sheets have gained strength. Banks have shored up capital and the housing market has finally begun to show signs of recovery.
The Federal Reserve, through repeated rounds of monetary stimulus programs, has pumped billions upon billions into the American economy. Central banks around the world have taken similar moves, keeping interest rates at historic lows.