Snoozing Bulls: Dow Ticks Up in Quiet Trading Day


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Capping the penultimate trading day of 2013 with a whimper, the Dow edged higher after wavering in a tight range.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 25.9 points, or 0.16%, to 16504, the S&P 500 fell 0.33 point, or 0.02%, to 1841 and the Nasdaq Composite dipped 2.4 point, or 0.06%, to 4154.

One word defines Monday's trading day: quiet. The Dow’s trading range Monday was 27.48 points, the narrowest since February 16, 2007, per data from Dow Jones.

Still, Wall Street is set to close out what's been a blockbuster year on Tuesday. The broad S&P 500 has surged close to 30% in what is likely to be its best year on a percent basis since 1997. That compares with a 13.4% gain in 2012.

The gains have been driven by several factors, including the Federal Reserve's aggressive monetary policy, an improving economy, rising corporate profits, easing geopolitical pressure in the Middle East, and a taming of the eurozone debt crisis.

The gains haven't been limited to the U.S. -- the Japanese Nikkei 225 closed out its best year since 1972 on the day. Those gains have also been driven by a powerful monetary and fiscal policy.

The data docket was fairly light Monday. The National Association of Realtors said contracts to buy previously-owned homes rose 0.2% in November, missing Wall Street estimates of a 1% increase. On the corporate front, Crocs (NASDAQ:CROX) shares surged after the maker of funky footwear revealed a $200 million investment from private-equity heavyweight Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX). Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) said late Friday investors should vote against a proposal from billionaire investor Carl Icahn to unleash a $50 billion share buyback.

In commodities, U.S. crude oil futures dipped 56 cents, or 0.56%, to $99.75 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline fell 0.48% to $2.802 a gallon. Gold tumbled 96 cents, or 0.94%, to $1,203 a troy ounce.

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