Closing Update: Stocks Finish Shortened Session With Small Gains;

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Wall Street enjoyed a small "Santa Claus" rally Tuesday, closing an abbreviated pre-holiday session with moderate gains supported by better-than-expected economic data for new-home sales and orders for items intended to last more than three years. Volume was extremely light.

A lot of focus is on retailers which are mixed as surveys show holiday sales have declined three weeks in a row since a strong post-Thanksgiving weekend.

On the economic news front, durable goods orders rose 3.5% in November, the Commerce Department reported today. This was more than double the expected rise. Excluding transportation, orders for items intended to last more than three years were up a very healthy 1.2%.

Also, new home sales fell a less than expected 2.1% during November. The Commerce Department also said sales eased to a 464,000 annualized pace, exceeding the market consensus for annualized sales. The agency also revised its October data for new home sales to a 474,000 annual pace, up 30,000 from its original report.

Commodities are mostly higher, with February crude oil rising 27 cents to $99.18 per barrel. January natural gas was down 4 cents to $4.43 per 1 million BTU. February gold is up $6.10 to $1,203.20 per ounce, while March silver added 8 cents to $19.49 per ounce. Copper was up $0.02 to $3.33 per pound.

Here's where the markets stand at end-of-day:

Dow Jones Industrial Average up 62.94 (+0.39%) to 16357.55

S&P 500 up 5.33 (+0.29%) to 1833.32

Nasdaq Composite Index up 6.51 (+0.16%) to 4155.42

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Hang Seng Index up 1.13%

Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.15%

FTSE 100 Index up 0.23%

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+11.2%, hit 52 week highs) WLB, Agrees to buy the Prairie and Mountain coal-mining operations of Sherritt International Corp. (S.TO) for $435 million.

(+11.1%) ATOS, Filed a premarket 510(k) notification with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration seeking clearance for the ForeCYTE Breast Aspirator.

(+13%, hit 52 week highs) SUPN, Regulators approved Orenitram extended-release tablets for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension in patients seeking to improve their ability to exercise.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-3.7%) GLUU, Downgrade to Neutral from Buy at B. Riley.

(-7%) CAMP, First Analysis cuts its rating for the mobile communications equipment maker to Equalweight from Overweight after the company forecasts Q4 EPS, revenue trailing Wall Street estimates.

(-1.45% after hitting 52 week highs) UTHR, Jefferies Group boosts its price target for the drug-maker by $15 to $91 a share, trailing the stock's new 52-week high of $116.65 set earlier today by a considerable margin.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

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