Demand for stocks has been propelled this year by optimism that the housing market is recovering and that companies have started to hire. Strong company earnings and ongoing stimulus from the Federal Reserve also are helping to make stocks more attractive.
The Dow's last nine-day winning streak was logged in May 1996. In November of that year, in the early days of the tech boom, it gained 10 straight days.
Stocks overcame an early loss Wednesday. They had edged lower at the start of the trading day despite an unexpectedly strong increase in consumer spending last month.
Americans spent at the fastest pace in five months in February, boosting retail spending 1.1 percent compared with January, the Commerce Department reported.
The market's failure to rally directly after the report suggests that the bar has risen for investors.
"As the market rises, so do expectations," said Bill Stone, chief investment strategist at PNC Wealth Management. "So, even if you get good numbers, you don't necessarily get the market to go up."
The solid increase in retail sales is encouraging because it shows Americans kept spending despite a payroll tax increase that lowered take-home pay for most workers.
Brian Gendreau of Cetera Financial Group said that even if the market dips in coming weeks, the trend of rising company earnings is likely to push stocks higher in the longer term.
So far, companies have reported 7.7 percent earnings growth for 2012's fourth quarter, the third straight quarter of gains, according to S&P Capital IQ.
The S&P 500 has gained 9 percent in 2013. It is less than a percentage point away from its October 2007 record close of 1,565.15.
Among stocks making big moves, Spectrum Pharmaceuticals plunged $4.64, or 37 percent, to $7.79 after it said sales of its drug Fusilev could fall by more than half this year.
Dole dropped $1.06, or 9 percent, to $10.67 after fourth-quarter results fell short of analysts' expectations. It cited lower banana prices in North America.
Netflix rose $10.25, or 5.6 percent, to $192.36 after the Internet video service said a new feature will allow U.S. subscribers to swap movie and TV show recommendations with Facebook friends.