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Dow Watch: BofA Advances, Microsoft Slips

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above 8000 for the first time in nearly two months.

Updated from 2:16 p.m. EDT

Four in a Row

(

At 5:20 p.m. EDT

)

I didn't think it was going to make it, but the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

managed to close above 8000 for the first time in nearly two months Friday.

The index rose 39.51 points, or 0.5%, to 8017.59 as 21 of its 30 components climbed.

IBM

(IBM) - Get International Business Machines (IBM) Report

and

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) Report

were the main contributors to the increase, accounting for about 20 points of the total.

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Not only was that the fourth straight session with an advance, it was also the fourth straight winning week for the industrials. During that time, the Dow has tacked on 21%. For the week just ended, it was up 241.41 points, or 3.1%. The year-to-date loss has been narrowed to 8.7%.

On a percentage basis,

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Bank of America Corp Report

was the best performer, rising nearly 5% to $7.60.

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Report

had the steepest decline, falling 2.8% to $18.75.

All told, a good week. Enough of that for now though. Time to worry about the Final Four. Go Tar Heels.

Let's Call It a Week

(

At 1:50 p.m. EDT

)

Is anybody awake out there? Still not much going on in terms of the

Dow's

movement. Maybe that's for the best.

Only about two hours separate the index from another winning week, so if we stay here, fine with me. How can anyone really be thinking about stocks at 2 p.m. EDT on a Friday? Seriously.

Maybe it's exhaustion. This has been a busy week, packed with data, a G-20 meeting, a showing by FASB, a handful of earnings, worries about the future of

GM

(GM) - Get General Motors Company (GM) Report

and more chatter about

IBM

(IBM) - Get International Business Machines (IBM) Report

for

Sun

(JAVA)

. Or maybe it's just me.

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At any rate, the industrials haven't strayed far from the flat line Friday, though they did briefly go positive before pulling back to trade lower by 31 points at 7947. The range has been right at 100 points, most of that on the downside.

However, a few more components went positive, and recently losers were holding a 17-13 edge. The best stock was

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Bank of America Corp Report

, up 2.1% at $7.39.

Merck

(MRK) - Get Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Report

and

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Report

were in the worst shape, down 2.9% each.

Not Much of a Move

(

At 10:40 a.m. EDT

)

Too bad

Research in Motion

isn't in the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

.

Fine, so every day can't be an

up day

. It's still early though. Recently, the industrials were down 66 points at 7912. About an hour into the session the range has been narrow, 7910 to 7998.

As expected, the latest jobs data were horrible -- 663,000 positions were lost last month and the

unemployment rate

reached 1983 levels. The only good news, and let's face it, it barely qualifies when you think about it, is that nobody was surprised and stocks weren't suffering too badly. Certainly speaks volumes about our expectations these days.

Only nine of the 30 components were in the green, but the gains weren't particularly notable.

General Motors

(GM) - Get General Motors Company (GM) Report

had the biggest move, and it was up 1.9% at $2.13.

Hewlett-Packard

(HPQ) - Get HP Inc. (HPQ) Report

was adding 1.6% to $34.23.

The decliners weren't moving much, either. The worst stock was

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Report

, down 3.3% at $18.66, followed by a 2.3% drop in

Merck

(MRK) - Get Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Report

to $26.37.

We'll still see a fourth straight advancing week as long as the Dow ends above 7776.

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