NEW YORK (AP) — The Dow Jones industrial average neared 12,000 for the first time since June 2008 Monday as technology and materials companies led broad gains in the stock market.

Technology stocks rose after Intel Corp. increased its dividend and said it would buy back more of its stock. The company gained 1.7 percent.

Materials companies gained 1.2 percent after a report from the National Association for Business Economics showed that economists are more positive about economic growth and the job market than at any time since the start of the Great Recession.

Vulcan Materials Co., Alcoa Inc. and Sealed Air Corp. each gained more than 3 percent. Alcoa, which jumped 3.6 percent, was the top-performing stock among the 30 that make up the Dow Jones industrial average.

The Dow gained 87 points, or 0.7 percent, to 11,960. If it closes above 12,000, the Dow would be at its highest point since June 19, 2008.

The Standard and Poor’s 500 index rose 7 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,290. Financial companies were the only member of the 10 company groups that make up the index to fall.

The Nasdaq composite index gained 27, or 1 percent, to 2,717.

J.C. Penny Co. jumped 7 percent after the retailer said it would close some stores and its catalog business to reduce costs.

American Express Co., CSX Corp. and Texas Instruments Inc. are scheduled to release their results after the market closes.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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