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Stocks on path for third straight week of gains

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Stocks on path for third straight week of gains
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NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks were trading mixed early today ahead of the long holiday weekend. Major indexes have risen steadily this month and are headed for their third straight week of gains.

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The Dow Jones industrial average has fallen on only three days in February. The index is up 0.4 percent this week and 3.6 percent for the month. The S&P 500 has risen 0.7 percent this week and 4.1 percent this month.

Campbell Soup Co. fell 6 percent after the company said its profit fell 8 percent in its latest quarter. The company also cut its outlook for the rest of its fiscal year.

Intuit Inc. jumped 6.4 percent after the personal finance software maker raised its forecast for full-year earnings growth late Thursday.

The Dow gained 2 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 12,319. The S&P 500 fell less than a point to 1,339. The Nasdaq composite was unchanged at 2,831.

Trading was muted with little expected in the way of economics news or corporate announcements. Markets will be closed Monday for the President's Day holiday.

Finance officials from countries within the Group of 20 met in Paris Friday to discuss issues affecting the global economy. In a speech at the conference, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said that countries with large trade surpluses like China should let their currencies rise in value in order to prevent another financial crisis. He also said that countries with large trade deficits must reduce government spending over time, an apparent reference to the United States.

Stocks finished higher Thursday after a strong manufacturing report overshadowed a bigger than expected rise in the number of people applying for unemployment benefits.

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