Stocks Close Mixed on Thin Volume, Dow Ends Red

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Stocks closed out their see-saw-like day mostly positive Monday as late-day gains in commodities along with some M&A action offset a strengthening dollar.

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Today’s Markets

At the 4 p.m. close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 13.78 points, or 0.12%, to 11478.13, the S&P 500 index rose 3.17 points, or 0.25%, to 1247.08 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 6.59 points, or 0.25%, to 2649.56. The consumer-friendly FOX 50 rose 0.72 points, or 0.08%, to 891.67.

The 30-member Dow trailed the broader S&P and Nasdaq primarily because of steep declines in the shares of Boeing (NYSE:BA) and American Express (NYSE:AXP), which closed down 2.7% and 3.4% respectively.

American Express dropped after the investment bank Stifel Nicholas issued a note expressing concerns over Federal Reserve's proposal on debit card fees and its potential to impact AmEx’s bottom line. Meanwhile Boeing shares fell after it said it would be increasing production of its 777-series plan to about eight per month.

The broader market tracked its performance to the euro, which lost 0.2% against after a worse-than-expected European consumer confidence report. A late-day boost in commodities also helped the market. After being down most of the day, oil closed up 0.6% to $89.16 a barrel.

There were a few M&A deals to spur some limited enthusiasm for the markets. Dow component AT&T (NYSE:T) announced it bought wireless spectrum from telecom chip maker Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) for $1.9 billion.

Meanwhile defense contractor Raytheon (NYSE:RTN) said it would buy intelligence and surveillance company Applied Signal (NASDAQ:APSG) for $490 million. Shares of Applied Signal jumped nearly 8% on the news, adding to the 96% gain the company has already had this year.

Gold futures added 0.45% to $1,385.30 a troy ounce.

This week is expected to be quiet as most of Wall Street is on vacation for the year-end holidays and most fund managers have effectively closed out their portfolios for the year. Volume was quite low for Monday’s session, with slightly more than 800 million shares exchanging hands on the New York Stock Exchange.

Company News

Shares of Adobe Systems (NASDAQ:ADBE) increased nearly 2% ahead of the company’s earnings report that came out after the closing bell. Analysts are looking for the maker of Photoshop to report earnings of 52 cents a share on $988.2 million in revenue.

Shares of Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) fell 1% after The Wall Street Journal reported that EU regulators were scrutinizing Intel's proposed purchase of McAfee (NYSE:MFE)

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) said it would deny any transaction that it believes is intended for WikiLeaks, making it the latest financial company to cut off the Web site in recent weeks following its release of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables.

Shares of Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) rose 8.8% on Monday after billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn disclosed in a regular regulatory filing that he had built up a 5.8% stake in the company.

Online auction company eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) said it would purchase German online shopping club brands4friends for about $200 million.

Global Markets

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 0.34% to 5891.61, France's CAC 40 rose 0.52% to 3885.08 and Germany's DAX climbed 0.52% to 7018.60..

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 0.85% to 10216.40, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.33% to 22639.10 and China's Shanghai Composite fell 1.4% to 2852.92.

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