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Saturday, September 17, 2011

US Stocks clinch 5-day winning streak (ext.)

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks posted solid gains Friday to clinch a 5-day winning streak for the first time in more than two months.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) gained 76 points, or 0.7%, the S&P 500 (SPX) added 7 points, or 0.6%, and the Nasdaq composite (COMP) edged up 15 points, or 0.6%.

Stocks had a strong start to the day, briefly slid into the red, and then bounced around in positive territory throughout the afternoon.

Friday's mild volatility was in part due to traders adjusting their portfolios during so-called "quadruple witching." The term refers to the phenomenon that takes place four times a year when several derivatives contracts expire at the same time -- those tied to market index futures, market index options, stock options and stock futures.

But investors' primary attention remains on Europe's debt crisis, as the region's finance ministers gather in Poland.

Overall, moves in the market were somewhat subdued Friday, as news from the meeting in Poland is not expected until the weekend, said Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman.

Chandler said the focal point of the meeting is likely to be the expansion European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), which is the bailout fund for Europe's cash-strapped countries, including Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain.

Despite the week's strength, stocks remain in the red for the year.

The dollar strengthened against the euro, the Japanese yen, and the British pound.

Oil for October delivery slipped $1.44 to $87.96 a barrel.

Gold futures for December delivery jumped $33.30 to $1,814.70 an ounce.

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