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Stocks continue to hit highs for the year

Stocks closed at another 2011 high Monday despite modest U.S. economic growth in the first quarter.

The economy grew at a 1.8 annual rate between January and March. That's the weakest rate since last spring. Higher oil prices cut into consumer spending and bad weather slowed down construction projects.

Stocks rose modestly as investors bet that the economy would grow at a faster annual rate once gasoline prices stabilize. The S&P 500 rose 4.82 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,360.48. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 72.35, or 0.6 percent, to 12,763.31. The Nasdaq composite gained 2.65, or 0.1 percent, to 2,872.53.

The Russell 2000 index rose again, a day after reaching a record high. The index of small companies rose 3.24, or 0.4 percent, to 861.55.

Corporate earnings were mixed. Procter & Gamble Co. rose nearly 1 percent after the maker of Tide detergent and Pampers diapers reported higher earnings but cut its forecast for the year due to rising costs for raw materials.

Sprint Nextel Corp. rose nearly 7 percent. The company added twice as many wireless subscribers in the first quarter as analysts had expected.

Stock indexes hit 2011 highs Wednesday after the Federal Reserve said it would keep interest rates low.

Thursday, two stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Consolidated volume came to 4.2 billion shares.

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