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Stock prices swing into positive territory for the year

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Richard Drew/AP

(Read caption) Specialists Evan Solomon (left) and Mario Picone watch their screens at a post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Friday, when the Dow average jumped 201 points. On Monday, stock prices moved up again.

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Stock prices are swinging to positive for the year.

After spending two months below its close at the end of 2009, the Dow Jones Industrial Average moved into positive territory Monday. In early afternoon, the Dow average was up about 70 points to 10494. That was easily above its Dec. 31 close of 10428.05.

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The tech-heavy Nasdaq, which swung positive by less than a point on Friday, extended its gains on Monday. It was up about 19 points to 2288.

The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index, while still in negative territory, was within a few points of its Dec. 31 close.

Buoying the market was a string of strong earnings reports from companies as well as a report on new home sales that suggested that the housing market was recovering slowly.

Among the strong earners was bellwether FedEx, which raised its earnings forecast, saying its shipping business was growing more robustly than expected.

If stocks hold onto their gains for the day, it would mark the third straight rise in stock prices.