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By Fred Imbert, CNBC

The Dow Jones industrial average had a remarkable day Thursday.

The blue chip index closed at a record high of 18,807.88, putting it within striking distance of 19,000. The Dow also posted an all-time intraday high of 18,873.66.

Goldman Sachs contributed the most gains on the Dow, as the broader financial sector rallied on the prospects for looser regulation in a Donald Trump presidency. Since Election Day, the index has risen 3.22 percent, putting it on track for its best week since December 2011.

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"There's this perception that we're going to be in a growth environment because of lower taxes and infrastructure spending," among other factors, said Craig Sterling, head of U.S. equity research at Pioneer Investments. "We don't really know what's going to happen in terms of policy. We think we know certain things, but that could change."

Sterling added he thinks the Dow, along with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, can continue to go higher, so long as the recent sector rotation away from utilities, telecommunications and technology into financials and industrials carries on.

The other two major U.S. stock indexes, have lagged the Dow over the past three months, leaving the S&P 1.21 percent off its all-time intraday high and the Nasdaq 2.57 percent away.Thursday also marked the first record-setting day for the Dow since Aug. 15, when it closed at 18,636.05 and set a then-intraday record high of 18,668.44. That said, The index has only risen 0.92 percent since setting its previous closing high.