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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Stocks rise ahead of long holiday weekend (ext)

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks closed higher Friday, with the Dow rising to a two-year high as the two-day meeting of the G-20 finance ministers kicked off in France.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) added 73 points, or 0.6%, to finish at 12,391. The S&P 500 (SPX) added 2.6 points, or 0.2%, to reach 1,343 ; and the Nasdaq (COMP) rose 2.4 points, or 0.1%, to 2,834. All three indexes closed up 1% for the week.

Ahead of the G-20 meeting, China's central bank said it will raise the reserve requirement ratio for the nation's banks by half a percentage point, marking the second increase so far this year. The government has hiked the reserve requirement six times in 2010, as the country attempts to combat inflation.

Crude oil for April delivery climbed over $90-a-barrel mark earlier in the day, following numerous news reports that the situation in Bahrain -- a oil-rich country near Saudi Arabia -- was quickly deteriorating.

The dollar gained strength against the euro and the Japanese yen, but fell versus the British pound.

Oil for April delivery gained 98 cents to $89.71 a barrel after being up as much as 2% earlier in the day

Gold futures for April delivery rose $3.50 to $1,388.60 an ounce.

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