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Weak dollar helps stocks on WallSt

US STOCKS closed higher for a fourth straight day yesterday, sending the Standard &amp; Poor&rsquo;s 500 index to its best finish so far this year as industrial and technology companies gained from a weak dollar.<br /><br />The dollar&rsquo;s fall to a 2009 low helped to make US products more competitive overseas. Earth-moving equipment maker <strong>Caterpillar</strong>, rose 3.07 per cent to $48.41.<br /><br />Tech stocks were among the big gainers, with <strong>Google</strong> up 1.2 per cent at $463.97. But Nasdaq&rsquo;s advance was limited by <strong>Apple</strong>, which fell 1 per cent to $171.14, after chief executive Steve Jobs&rsquo;s appearance at a company event spurred further concerns for his health.<br /><br />The weak dollar seems to be the &ldquo;new catalyst&rdquo; in the market, said Chad Morganlander, portfolio manager at Stifel, Nicolaus &amp; Co.<br /><br />The Dow Jones industrial average was up 49.88 points, or 0.53 per cent, at 9,547.22. The Standard &amp; Poor&rsquo;s 500 Index gained 7.98 points, or 0.78 per cent, at 1,033.37. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 22.62 points, or 1.11 per cent, at 2,060.39.<br /><br />The dollar&rsquo;s fall pushed oil up, allowing US crude to settle at $71.31 a barrel and helping gold to trade near $1,000 an ounce.<br /><br />Dow&rsquo;s top boost was <strong>Boeing</strong>, which rose 2.1 per cent to $50.53 after a senior executive said the firm expects global air cargo traffic to return to growth next year.<br /><br />Goldman Sachs upgraded <strong>Illinois Tool Works</strong> to &ldquo;conviction buy&rdquo; and lifted its price target on Dow components <strong>General Electric, United Technologies</strong> and <strong>3M</strong>.<br /><br />GE shares gained 2.6 per cent to $14.87 while Illinois Tool was up 5 per cent to $43.93. The S&amp;P Industrials sector gained 1.55 per cent and was the top percentage gainer among S&amp;P sectors.<br /><br />Also among tech shares, <strong>Ebay</strong> was also up 3.9 per cent at $22.98 after Bernstein upgraded the company, citing the turnaround in its core businesses and in used-auto sales.<br /><br />Volume was light on the New York Stock Exchange where 1.24bn shares changed hands, below last year&rsquo;s estimated daily average of 1.49bn. On the Nasdaq, however, about 2.51bn shares traded, above last year&rsquo;s daily average of 2.28bn.