S&P 500 index hits highest point since June 2008

Posted: February 25, 2012

NEW YORK - A two-point gain was enough to push the S&P 500 index to its highest level since June 2008, three months before the collapse of Lehman Bros. and the darkest days of the financial crisis.

The S&P 500 index closed at 1,365.74, beating its 2011 closing high by two points.

For the second day this week, the Dow Jones industrial average nudged above 13,000 then pulled back. The Dow dropped 1.74 points to close at 12,982.95. American Express was the leading stock among the 30 that make up the average, gaining 1.2 percent. The average hasn't closed above 13,000 since May 19, 2008.

A consumer sentiment index taken by the University of Michigan and Reuters edged up in February to its highest level in a year. And the Commerce Department reported that sales of new homes dipped slightly in January, but the figure still topped economists' estimates. It also said sales in the final three months of 2011 were higher than previously reported.

In other trading, the Nasdaq composite index rose 6.77 points to 2,963.75.

Oil prices hit a nine-month high of $109.77 a barrel. The price of oil has jumped 10 percent this month amid rising concerns about a conflict with Iran.

The euro added a penny against the dollar, hitting $1.346, its highest since Dec. 5.

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