Stocks: Going for 3 straight up weeks

@CNNMoneyInvest March 2, 2012: 8:11 AM ET
u.s. stock futures, premarket

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- A third straight week of U.S. stock gains is on the line Friday as investors turning their focus to developments in Europe.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU), S&P 500 (SPX) and Nasdaq (COMP) futures were down 0.3% and 0.4%. Stock futures indicate the possible direction of the markets when they open at 9:30 a.m. ET.

It's been a choppy week on Wall Street. Going into Friday, the Dow is down 2 points, the S&P 500 is up 0.6% and the Nasdaq is 0.9% higher.

Overall, the major indexes are on a roll, up the past two weeks. The Dow and S&P 500 are around their highest levels since the summer of 2008, while the Nasdaq is near the highest point since December 2000.

In Europe, efforts continue to bring the continent's debt crisis under control.

At the end of a two-day meeting in Brussels, 25 of the 27 leaders in the European Union signed a so-called fiscal compact, designed to prevent a future crisis by strengthening budget discipline. As expected, the Czech Republic did not sign due to political obstacles, and U.K. Prime Minster David Cameron also sat out.

The pact still needs to be approved by the parliaments of individual governments. It will be legally binding after it has been ratified by 12 member states and incorporated into EU treaties within five years, the leaders said.

There has been some good news out of Europe recently, as Greece appears to have secured a second bailout, and the European Central Bank has completed a second round of loans to European banks worth €529.5 billion.

Concerns remain, however, about Greece's stability and Europe's capacity to support larger economies like Italy and Spain should they face further distress.

Who's afraid of Greek credit default swaps?

European leaders, who are meeting in Brussels, are also under pressure to increase the size of the €500 billion European Stability Mechanism, in order to prevent the spread of financial contagion to these and other countries.

Beyond Europe, investors will continue their close watch on the global oil market and rising gas prices. Gas prices climbed for the 24th straight day Friday, hovering around $3.74 a gallon.

U.S. stocks rose modestly Thursday, as investors welcomed mostly positive economic news and digested testimony from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke.

Companies: Shares of Yelp (YELP) will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange Friday. The reviews sitepriced its initial public offering at $15 a share late Thursday, above the target set by the company. San Francisco-based Yelp said it was selling 7.1 million shares in the offering, raising about $106.5 million in the IPO.

Shares of Shutterfly (SFLY) popped after the company bought Eastman Kodak's (EK, Fortune 500) online photo services business for $23.8 million. Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection in January.

Zynga (ZNGA) shares moved higher after the online game developer announced a new online platform, Zynga.com, which will allow users to play Zynga's games like FarmVille and Words With Friends on its site and reduce the company's dependence on Facebook.

World markets: European stocks turned lower in afternoon trading. Britain's FTSE 100 (UKX) slipped 0.3%, the DAX (DAX) in Germany fell 0.5%, while France's CAC 40 (CAC40) lost 0.1%.

Asian markets ended higher. The Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) popped 1.4%, the Hang Seng (HSI) in Hong Kong added 0.8% and Japan's Nikkei (N225) gained 0.7%.

Currencies and commodities: The dollar rose against the euro, the British pound and the Japanese yen.

Did Ben Bernanke kill the gold rally?

Oil for April delivery slipped 84 cents to $108 a barrel.

Gold futures for April delivery fell $11.00 to $1,711.20 an ounce.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury rose, pushing the yield down to 2.01% from 2.04% late Thursday.  To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,408.54 -16.31 -0.10%
Nasdaq 4,095.52 9.29 0.23%
S&P 500 1,864.85 2.54 0.14%
Treasuries 2.72 0.08 3.19%
Data as of 1:11pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.15 0.00 0.00%
Facebook Inc 58.94 0.00 0.00%
General Electric Co 26.56 0.00 0.00%
Cisco Systems Inc 23.19 -0.02 -0.09%
Micron Technology In... 23.91 0.00 0.00%
Data as of Apr 17
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.32%4.26%
15 yr fixed3.36%3.27%
5/1 ARM3.37%3.27%
30 yr refi4.31%4.24%
15 yr refi3.34%3.25%
Rate data provided
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