The Dow Jones industrial average swept past the 24,000 milestone for the first time Thursday.

Stocks are responding to strong economic signals that show consumer confidence at a nearly 17-year high and promising results from retailers in the thick of the holiday shopping season. The milestone also reflects the broader business optimism about rising profits and the potential for lighter regulation.

The blue chip stock index gained as much as 130 points in the first hour, continuing a stock rally that has sent investor holdings soaring through much of the year. The Dow has burst through record after record, reaching the 20,000 milestone earlier this year and climbing past 23,000 in October.

The index was up 0.8 percent, or 194 points, to 24,135 in late morning trading on Thursday.

The equities run-up is being driven in part by the Senate’s expected vote on tax reform later Thursday. The Republican proposal includes deep cuts to corporate taxes, as well as a raft of other provisions concerning repatriation of overseas profits, health care, graduate students and more.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index, itself riding high on the extended bull market, hit 2,640.14 early Thursday. The Nasdaq composite was up 0.8 percent to 6,879 as technology companies began recovering after being pummeled by investors on Wednesday.

The mostly small and mid-sized companies tracked by the Russell 2000 also reached record levels.

Energy stocks were buoyed by rising oil prices. Crude was offered at $57.72 a barrel — a 0.7 percent increase from the day before — as members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries met in Vienna to discuss whether to extend a pact to limit production.

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