stock certificateThe Dow Jones Industrial Average, an index of 30 blue-chip U.S. stocks, finished 2011 with a gain of 5.5 percent, the third consecutive year that the bellwether index has finished in positive territory.

Taken together — from the beginning of 2009’s trading through yesterday’s final 2011 session — The Dow is up 39.21%.

McDonald’s, IBM and Pfizer all gained more than 20% this year.

The top performing Dow stock in 2011 was McDonald’s Corp. whose stock rose 30%. Shares of the world’s largest fast-food chain have now finished up in 28 of the last 32 years.

IBM Corp. (up 25.29%) and Pfizer Inc. (23.59%) closed 2011 as the Dow’s second- and third-leading performers, respectively.

Home Depot Inc. (up 19.91%) and Kraft Foods Inc. (up 18.57%) rounded out the Dow’s top five 2011 performers.

The S&P 500, the main gauge of broad market performance, closed the year nearly dead even with its mark at the year’s opening.

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