Even in the face of an extended recession, devastating double-digit unemployment and a barrage of political charges that President Barack Obama’s health care reform will decimate the economy, the U.S. stock market finished the week at a 19-month high. –JCL


U.S. stocks rose to a 19-month high on Friday as Merck eased concerns about the impact of healthcare reform, saying its costs will be relatively low.

For the week, the S&P 500 was up 2.1 percent, the Dow gained 1.7 percent and the Nasdaq rose 2 percent. It was the eighth straight week of gains for the Dow and Nasdaq, while the S&P has gained in seven of the past eight weeks.

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