Stocks End on a Mixed Note
Stocks pared some of their losses in late trading to finish on a mixed note on the final day of November. Investors remained cautious today as they monitored the ongoing fiscal cliff talks.
Comments from lawmakers earlier in the week raised hopes that a deficit reduction deal will be done before the year-end deadline. However, Speaker John Boehner today said at a press conference that Republicans are right now almost nowhere in regards to the fiscal cliff talks with the White House.
If lawmakers fail to reach a deficit reduction deal before the end of this year, automatic spending cuts and tax increases of nearly $600 billion will take effect on January 1, 2013, which will push the U.S. economy into a recession. With so much at stake, it is likely that lawmakers will reach some kind of deal before the deadline. However, investors will remain on the edge until a deal is reached.
The Dow Jones ended the day 0.03% higher at 13,025.58, the S&P 500 ended the day 0.02% higher at 1,416.18, and the Nasdaq ended the day 0.06% lower at 3,010.24.
For the week, the Dow Jones rose 0.12%, the S&P 500 rose 0.50%, and the Nasdaq rose 1.46%. For November, the Dow Jones fell 0.54%, and the S&P 500 rose 0.28%.
Utilities were the best performers in the S&P 500 today, ending the day 0.65% higher. Consumer Non-Cyclical sector also gained in trading today, ending the day 0.43% higher. Energy sector ended the day 0.12% higher. Consumer Cyclical sector was the worst performer today, ending the day 0.86% lower.
Among the major movers in trading today were Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM), which ended the day 9.92% lower at $67.08, Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA), which ended the day 6.11% lower at $2.46, and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD), which ended the day 7.84% higher at $2.20.
On the economic front, a report from the Commerce Department earlier today showed that consumer spending slipped in October. A separate report showed that business activity in the Midwest expanded for the first time since August.
European markets ended mostly lower earlier today, with the FTSE 100 Index in London closing 0.06% lower, and the CAC 40 Index in Paris closing 0.33% lower. Asian markets ended mostly higher overnight, with the Nikkei 225 Index in Japan closing 0.48% higher, and the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong closing 0.49% higher.