US stocks wavered in tight range


The Dow Jones industrial average closed on Thursday up 41.78 at 11,499.25

Stocks ended flat on Friday as investors shrugged off encouraging economic signs and a tax-cut package expected to lift economic growth.

Trading ended shortly before US President Barack Obama signed a tax bill into law.

The 850 billion dollar package extends Bush-era tax cuts for another two years and expiring unemployment benefits through next year. House Democrats had pledged to block the tax proposal, a compromise worked out between Obama and Senate Republicans. But the House passed the bill late Thursday night. Critics said the cost didn’t justify the expected boost to economic growth.

In a hopeful sign for the economy, the Conference Board said its index of leading economic indicators rose 1.1% in November, the fastest pace since March. The index – which tracks data such as orders for new goods and materials – rose 0.4% in October.

Stocks wavered in a tight range on Friday, a day after major indexes hit two-year highs.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 7.34 points, or 0.06%, to close at 11,491.91.

The broader S&P 500 eked out another 2010 high. The index rose 1.04, or 0.08%, to close at 1,243.91. The Nasdaq composite rose 5.66, or 0.2%, to 2,642.97.

Rising shares barely outpaced falling ones on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was two billion shares.

The Dow gained 0.7% for the week. The S&P 500 rose 0.3% and the Nasdaq rose 0.2%.

Bond yields fell at the end of this year’s last full week of trading. The yield on the 10-year Treasury dropped to 3.33, after notching a seven-month high of 3.56% on Thursday. The 10-year yield is widely used by lenders to set borrowing rates for mortgages, corporate debt and other loans.

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