U.S. stocks had a big January, and they're starting February strong, too.

Stocks climbed Wednesday after strong manufacturing data and encouraging reports about the Greek debt crisis. The Dow Jones industrial average rose to within 100 points of its highest close since the 2008 financial crisis.

Factories raised output in January by the most in seven months, according to the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index. And the Commerce Department said construction spending rose 1.5 percent in December, the fifth straight monthly gain.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 83.55 points, or 0.7 percent, to close at 12,716.46. Earlier in the day, the Dow was up 151 points. But it moved less than 100 points for the day for the 20th consecutive trading session.

The Dow's highest close since 2008 is 12,810, in April 2011.

 

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