Stocks on track for 5th straight day of gains

Major stock indexes edged higher Friday, putting the market on track for a fifth day of gains. The increases were limited by more indecision in Europe over how to resolve that region’s debt troubles.

European finance ministers rejected calls by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to provide a decisive solution that would help Greece avoid a default on its debt. Traders fear that a default would rattle European banks that hold Greek debt and roil financial markets.

Blackberry maker Research in Motion Ltd. lost nearly one-fifth of its value after reporting sharply lower revenue and income. The company faces stiff competition from Apple Inc.’s iPhone and phones that use Google Inc.’s Android software.

At 12:08 p.m. Eastern time, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 56 points, or 0.5 percent, to 11,489. It had been up as many as 99 points and down as many as 26.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 4, or 0.4 percent, to 1,213. The Nasdaq composite index rose 11, or 0.4 percent, to 2,618.

The leader of the European finance ministers’ meeting said that the group would not decide until next month whether Greece has qualified for its next round of bailout money. Investors had been hoping the question would be decided sooner.

Analysts said some stock-sellers were pocketing profits after a week that lifted shares nearly 5 percent. Antony Conroy, head trader for BNY ConvergEx Group, said traders’ sentiment is mixed, with some buying undervalued stocks and others selling on long-term concerns about Europe.

“Even though we’ve had a good couple of days, people still believe there’s a good chance that the credit crisis in Europe is going to cause something like a 2008 event,” he said.

Stocks rose every day this week, their first four-day winning streak since August. The rally lifted the Dow and the S&P by about 5 percent. The Dow is still down 1 percent for the month, the S&P 0.3 percent.

Research in Motion said after the market closed Thursday that it lost ground against competitors in the three months ended Aug. 27. The company sold far fewer tablets and phones, struggling in a category dominated by the iPhone and iPad.

The troubled company has lost more than half of its market value this year. RIM said July that it would lay off 2,000 workers, about 10 percent of its work force.

Stocks have not risen for five days in a row since nearly three months ago, before nervousness about the sluggish economy and Europe sent shares falling.

Markets surged on Thursday after five central banks said they would offer unlimited dollar loans to the European banks. Some banks have been unable to borrow to pay for their daily operations. They can’t get loans from other banks because no one knows how much bad debt they hold.


Daniel Wagner can be reached at