Dow Ends Wishy-Washy Session, Week in the Black

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) traversed another rocky road today, with the blue-chip barometer once again exploring both sides of breakeven. Fiscal-cliff chatter remained in focus, with President Barack Obama predicting "prolonged negotiations" on Capitol Hill, and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) confirming that "right now we're almost nowhere." Nevertheless, the bulls eked out a win by the time the dust settled, with the Dow finishing a second straight session atop the 13,000 marker.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) tacked on 3.8 points, or 0.03%, as 17 of its 30 blue chips ended higher. Wal-Mart Stores ( WMT ) led the advancing equities with a 1.7% gain, while Microsoft ( MSFT ) and Caterpillar ( CAT ) paced the 12 decliners, giving up 1.2% apiece. General Electric ( GE ), meanwhile, finished flat. For the week, the Dow advanced 0.1%, but surrendered 0.5% for the month.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX) settled a seesaw session fractionally higher, and ended the week with a gain of 0.5%. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) , meanwhile, gave up 1.8 points on the day, but advanced 1.5% on the week. For the month, the SPX and COMP jumped 0.3% and 1.1%, respectively.

The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX) finished more than 5% higher, ending north of its 10-day moving average for the first time since Nov. 15. For the week, the VIX added 4.8%, but swallowed a loss of 14.7% in November.

CLOSING SUMMARY - INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY - NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take

"It was a pretty slow Friday," noted Schaeffer's Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick. "Sure, we had the usual rhetoric regarding the fiscal cliff out of Washington, which provided some intraday volatility, but in the end not a lot happened. Once again, the bulls defended their turf. It was a Friday, we've had a good run, there wasn't great news out of Washington, yet the market still hung tough."

What's more, he says, there could be additional upside in store. "We are entering the historically bullish timeframe of December, and things still look good for a Santa Claus rally."

Economic and Earnings News

The Chicago Business Barometer -- better known as the purchasing managers index (PMI) -- edged up to 50.4 in November from October's reading of 49.9. That marks a return to growth for U.S. manufacturing activity, but economists were hoping for a slightly bigger rise to 50.5.

Consumer spending fell 0.2% in October, said the Commerce Department, or 0.3% on an inflation-adjusted basis. Incomes rose 0.1% for the month, representing the 11th consecutive sequential gain. However, the report fell short of consensus expectations, which called for spending to remain flat and incomes to rise 0.2%.

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Commodities

Crude futures ended higher again today, as signs of manufacturing growth boosted expectations for demand, while geopolitical tensions in the Middle East fueled supply concerns. By the close, January-dated oil added 84 cents, or 1%, to end at $88.91 per barrel. For the week, black gold tacked on 0.7%, and jumped 3.1% for the month.

On the other hand, gold futures approached four-week lows, as a soaring greenback spooked foreign-currency holders. By the bell, gold for February delivery gave up $16.80, or 1%, to end at $1,712.70 an ounce. For the week, the yellow metal surrendered 2.2%. For the month, gold backpedaled 0.4%.

SCHAEFFER'S MARKET POSTURE

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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 , Options

Referenced Stocks: CAT , FB , GE , MSFT , WMT

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