Dow turns positive for '09

Wall Street ends a mixed week little changed, but investors manage to push the blue-chip average into the plus column for the year.

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By Alexandra Twin, senior writer

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NEW YORK( -- Stocks churned Friday, at the end of a mixed week on Wall Street, that nonetheless left the Dow industrials in positive territory for the year for the first time since January.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) gained 28 points, or 0.3%, ending above its 2008 close of 8,776.39.

The Dow has now risen in 12 of the last 14 weeks, rising 33% in that time, for its best 14-week stretch since March 1975, according to Dow Jones.

The S&P 500 (SPX) index added 1 point, or 0.1%, to end at a seven-month high.

The Nasdaq composite (COMP) fell almost 4 points, or 0.2%, after ending the previous session at an eight-month high.

For the week, the Dow and S&P 500 ended with modest gains, while the Nasdaq ended lower.

Stocks slumped through the late afternoon as weakness in oil and gold prices dragged on commodity stocks.

But the selling eased on unsubstantiated reports about the outcome of the Iranian presidential race, said Joseph Saluzzi, co-head of equity trading at Themis Trading. He said reports that incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was unseated by challenger Mir Hossein Moussavi caused markets to recover.

Yet, the results of the election are not yet clear, with both men claiming victory.

Stocks could continue to move up through the next few sessions, but starting in the second half, equities look ripe for a bigger pull back, Saluzzi said.

"The labor market is still bad, the consumer is still out of it, GDP is still a disaster," he said.

Markets have rallied for three months straight, since bottoming March 9. In that time, the Dow has gained just over 34%, the S&P 500 40% and the Nasdaq 47%, as of Friday's close. Bets that the pace of the recession is waning have helped fuel the advance.

But stocks have struggled this week as rising Treasury yields and higher commodity prices have fueled worries that inflation could choke off any early signs of recovery. And economic reports that meet expectations may no longer be enough to further stock gains.

"When stocks are up 40%, just meeting estimates is no longer going to be enough," he said. "I think we'll see a little downturn through the summer unless we get some really good news.

Bonds: On Friday, Treasury prices rose, lowering the corresponding yields. The yield on the benchmark 10-year note fell to 3.79% from 3.85% Thursday. The yield hit 4% during Wednesday's session for the first time since October.

Economy: Consumer sentiment was little changed in early June, falling just shy of forecasts. The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index rose to 69 from 68.7, versus forecasts for a rise to 69.5.

Import prices jumped 1.3% in May, in line with forecasts. It was the largest monthly increase since last July, according to a Labor Department report released Friday morning. The increase was due largely to a jump in petroleum prices. Prices rose 1.1% in April.

Year-over-year import prices fell 17.6%, suggesting that inflation fears are not yet being realized.

Export prices rose 0.6% in May versus forecasts for a gain of 0.4%. Prices rose 0.4% in April.

Companies: BlackRock (BLK, Fortune 500) is buying BGI, the investment unit of British bank Barclays (BCS), in a $13.5 billion cash-and-stock-deal that will create the world's largest money manager. BlackRock shares fell 3.3% and Barclays fell 3.2%.

Other markets: In global trading, most Asian markets ended higher and European markets ended lower.

In currency trading, the dollar gained versus the euro and the yen.

U.S. light crude oil for July delivery settled down 64 cents to $72.04 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

COMEX gold for August delivery fell $21.30 to settle at $940.70 an ounce.

Market breadth was negative and volume was light for the fifth session in a row. On the New York Stock Exchange, losers beat winners eight to seven on volume of 860 million shares. On the Nasdaq, decliners topped advancers seven to six on volume of 2.06 billion shares.

A server issue at the New York Stock Exchange briefly interrupted the flow of orders for about 200 stocks in the late morning, including Dow components General Electric (GE, Fortune 500), Merck (MRK, Fortune 500) and Exxon Mobil (XOM, Fortune 500), the NYSE said. The stocks continued to trade electronically and outside the NYSE, but were temporarily halted on the exchange. Trading resumed at 12:10 p.m. ET. To top of page

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