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NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stocks on Friday finished at their highest levels yet for the year, with information technology stocks fronting the advance ahead of a slew of earnings reports from the sector next week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 78.07 points, or 0.8%, to 9,864.94, giving the blue chips a weekly rise of 4%. The S&P 500 Index climbed 6.01 points, or 0.6%, to 1,071.49, up 4.5% from the week-ago close. The Nasdaq Composite rose 15.35 points, or 0.7%, to 2,139.28, leaving the technology-laden index ahead 4.5% from last Friday's close. Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-f
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ire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



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SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- National Semiconductor Corp. said late Friday that Donald Macleod will succeed Brian Halla as chief executive when Halla retires. Halla will retire as CEO on Nov. 30 but will remain chairman. Macleod, who currently serves as president and chief operating officer, will hold the positions of president and CEO.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

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SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- NYSE Euronext Inc. said late Friday that short interest on shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange continued to decline in the latest two-week period. The exchange said short interest fell to 13.06 billion shares at the end of Sept. 30, compared with 13.52 billion shares at the end of Sept. 15. and 13.78 billion shares at the end of Aug. 31. Short interest as of Sept. 30 represented 3.42% of the total shares outstanding, NYSE said.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more inform
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ation on this news.



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LONDON (MarketWatch) -- U.S. President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, the Nobel Foundation announced Friday. Obama was chosen "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples," the Foundation said.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


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NEW YORK (MarketWatch) - Gold prices, which just hit a new record high Thursday, will top $2,000 an ounce in a decade, Jim Rogers, the famed investor known for his bullish calls on commodities, said. Rogers, speaking at the sidelines in a conference held by ETF Securities Thursday in New York, said gold prices will keep rising as a protection against a weaker U.S. dollar. The dollar "is a terribly flawed" currency, he said. "Foreign debts are increasing rapidly every year, and I don't think Washington seems to care." Rogers also said prices of other commodities, such as oil, copper, and sugar,
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will continue to rise in the long term as the world will face more demand but shrinking supplies. Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



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FRANKFURT (MarketWatch) -- Norway's sovereign wealth fund has said the proposed merger between Volkswagen and Porsche Automobil Holding is "unacceptable" and called on Volkswagen to cancel plans for the deal. Norges Bank Investment Management, which manages Norway's Government Pension Fund, expressed its "deep concerns" about the deal in a letter dated Oct. 7 and sent to Volkswagen's supervisory board. The information available about the deal "fails to assure us that the plans will benefit Volkswagen's shareholders equitably," the letter said. "Neither does the information available assure u
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s that conflicts of interest have been handled satisfactorily. In total therefore, the deal appears unacceptable."
Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



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SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Dell Inc. and AT&T Inc. will team up and launch a smartphone using Google Inc.'s Android operating system, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday on its Web site. Dell and AT&T expect to launch the phone in early 2010, according to the Journal.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

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MADRID (MarketWatch) -- The slimmed-down Belgium financial services group Fortis was upgraded to buy from hold on Wednesday at ING, which said the company's strong capital position has been confirmed. ING said it understands the management's current conservative view on capital, but that once outstanding issues are resolved, the topic of returning excess capital will come back into focus. ING raised its target price on shares to 3.8 euros from 3.5 euros. Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on thi
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s news.



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SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- JetBlue Airways Corp. said Tuesday that September traffic rose 9.8% to 1.92 billion revenue passenger miles from 1.75 billion a year ago. A revenue passenger mile equals one passenger flown one mile. September capacity increased 8.6% to 2.47 billion available seat miles from 2.28 billion last year. Load factor, or the percentage of seats filled with passengers, for September rose to 77.6% from 76.7% a year ago.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.
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HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- The Reserve Bank of Australia Tuesday surprised by raising its policy rate by a quarter-point to 3.25% in response to stronger-than-expected economic conditions. The increase in the cash rate marks the RBA's first rate increase since March 2008 and makes it the first central bank in a major developed economy to hike rates. Several analysts had expected the RBA to commence rate hikes a few months later. Governor Glenn Stevens wrote in a statement that the "basis for such a low interest rate setting has now passed" and that it was now prudent to "begin gradually lessen
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ing the stimulus provided by monetary policy." The Australian dollar rose to 88.26 U.S. cents recently, from 87.94 cents in New York.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



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