Wall Street Ends Session Flat in Thinned Trading

Markets Reuters

The S&P 500 edged up to another record close on Monday, but the Dow industrials snapped a seven-session winning streak.

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Utilities, the best-performing S&P sector this year, showed the biggest gain among the 10 main sectors on Monday.

The S&P 500 (SPX) edged up by 1.80 points, or 0.1%, to close at 2,090.57, leaving the benchmark up 13.1% for 2014, with two trading sessions left in the year. Monday's mark also was the index's 53rd record close of the year, or an average of one a week.

Also read: This is what the S&P never did this year

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) dipped 15.48 points, or 0.1%, to end at 18,038.23. The blue-chip gauge, up 8.8% so far in 2014, pulled back from a record close achieved Friday.

The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite (RIXF) inched up by 0.05 point to finish at 4,806.91, while the small-cap Russell 2000 (RUT) tacked on 3.90 points, or 0.3%, to 1,219.11.

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Composite volumes for both the NYSE and Nasdaq were at roughly two-thirds of their 30-day average, according to FactSet. Trading is expected to be light throughout this holiday-shortened week.

Also read: When do markets close on New Year's Eve?

Looking ahead to 2015, Wall Street strategists on average predict further gains for the U.S. stock market, as an improving economy and lower energy prices offset rate hikes and increased volatility.

Movers and shakers: Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD) closed up 3.7% for the S&P 500's best performance as Morgan Stanley upgraded it to overweight and Barron's picked the stock as one of its 10 favorites for 2015.

Energy-related stocks such as Nabors Industries Ltd. (NBR) were also among the S&P's big winners, although they gave back some gains as crude oil prices (CLG5) fell again and settled at the lowest level since May 2009.

The energy SPDR (XLE), an ETF that tracks the S&P 500's energy stocks, remains down 9.2% for the year, but it established at least a short-term bottom in mid-December.

Check out: Carl Icahn predicts more pain for energy firms, but eventually "tremendous opportunity"

Greek drama: The global trading mood on Monday was dented by renewed uncertainty about the political landscape in Greece. The country's parliament rejected Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's candidate in a third and final presidential vote on Monday, meaning parliament will now have to be dissolved and a snap election held.

Greece's ATHEX Composite index tumbled after the failed vote. But the pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index closed higher, shaking off early losses.

Also read: 5 things to know about the crucial Greek election

Other markets: Gold futures finished lower, while the dollar gained ground on the euro in the wake of Greece's election news.