S&P Ekes Out November Advance, Dow Slips


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The broad S&P 500 posted a small gain for the month of November, while the blue-chip average slipped. Looking forward, traders are paying close attention to the looming fiscal cliff.

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Today's Markets

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 3.2 points, or 0.02%, to 13025, the S&P 500 gained 0.3 point, or 0.02%, to 1416 and the Nasdaq Composite dipped 1.8 points, or 0.06%, to 3010. The FOX 50 slipped 0.57 point to 1047.

For the month, the Dow shed 0.54%, the S&P 500 rose 0.29% and the Nasdaq jumped 1.1%.

Focus has broadly remained on key talks in the White House and on Capitol Hill aimed at avoiding the fiscal cliff. Headlines have pointed to continued disagreements between Republicans and Democrats, but most analysts say they expect some sort of deal to be made. Still, the back-and-forth has made for a turbulent ride on Wall Street.

"Policymakers may still add to market choppiness in statements that offer little substance while prompting much analysis," analysts at Nomura wrote in a note to clients.

There are two economic reports that may also help define a direction.

The Commerce Department said U.S. consumer spending dropped 0.2% in October from September, the first decline since May. Meanwhile, personal income remained unchanged, the weakest reading since April. Economists expected spending to remain unchanged and income to rise 0.2%.

The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago's PMI gauge ticked up to 50.4 in November from 49.9 in October. The index was expected to increase to 50.5. The reading indicates the sector flipped from contraction territory back into expansion.

Commodities markets were little changed. The benchmark crude oil contract gained 5 cents, or 0.06%, to $88.12 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline dipped 0.13% to $2.784 a gallon.

In metals, gold climbed $2.60, or 0.15%, to $1,732 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 climbed 0.41% to 2592, the English FTSE 100 gained 0.22% to 5883 and the German DAX rose 0.55% to 7441.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 edged up by 0.48% to 9446 and the Chinese Hang Seng ticked higher by 0.49% to 22030.