Happy days are here again...Following Wall Street's lead...Update due on factory orders...


NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street apparently believes the nation is starting to heal from the worst recession since the 1930s. The Dow Jones industrial average begins the trading day at an all-time high of 14,253.77, 89 points better than its previous record set in October 2007. Back then, Lehman Brothers was still in business and Apple had just sold its first iPhone. But unemployment was 4.7 percent versus 7.9 percent today.

BANGKOK (AP) — The Dow's new all-time high and better economic data from the United States are propelling world stock markets higher. European shares are seeing gains, as did Asian markets. Japan's Nikkei jumped more than 2 percent to close at 11,932, the highest finish since September 2008.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two reports out today could help investors decide whether to keep the Wall Street rally going. This morning the Commerce Department releases factory orders. Later, the Federal Reserve releases its Beige Book regional economic survey.

BANGKOK (AP) — Oil markets are taking the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in stride so far. Venezuela sits on the world's second-largest oil reserves. But during the 14 years Chavez led the country, its oil production dropped. Analysts say global oil supplies are ample and that's keeping markets at ease. Benchmark oil for April delivery was down 8 cents to $90.74 per barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota has tapped a former executive from General Motors to be on its board. It's the first time in the Japanese automaker's 76-year history it is appointing board members from outside the company. The appointment of Mark Hogan, effective April 1, is a key part of sprawling management changes Toyota Motor Corp. announced today.

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