( At 11:40 a.m. EDT) About two hours in to the session and the Dow is near its session high, up more than 120 points at 8079. Of the 30 stocks, 22 were positive. The best percentage gainer was American Express ( AXP), surging 13.2% following its earnings and despite a Moody's downgrade. Meanwhile, the worst stock was Citigroup ( C), down 2.5% at $3.12. According to The New York Post, CEO Vikram Pandit might soon be looking for new employment. The stress tests may determine whether that ends up being the case. In case you missed it, Steve Ballmer, the head of Microsoft ( MSFT), made some comments in Germany about the state of the economy. Here's a sample: "We are planning essentially for the economy to contract. That may take two, three, four years, partly depending on government policy to ease some of the pain. Then we will see growth again." He also said his company still isn't interested in reconsidering a bid for Yahoo! ( YHOO), though the two sides might be able to create some kind of partnership. ( Read more on Ballmer's comments.) Shares were up 8% recently thanks to last night's report. Now the bigger picture. The level to watch is 8131.33. That's where the Dow ended last week. If you'll remember, the index has risen for six straight. Not sure we can make it seven, but this end-of-the-week rally we're seeing might make it close.
Finally, It's Friday
( At 9:05 a.m. EDT) Dow futures are ticking higher ahead of the final trading session of what has been a busy week on Wall Street. Two industrials that reported their quarterly numbers after the last close, Microsoft ( MSFT) and American Express ( AXP), were on the rise, the software seller by 4.3% to $19.74 and the financial firm by 8.4% to $22.72.