Nov 30, 2012
MarketWatch | Wall Street at Close Report -November 30, 2012-. Nasdaq tallies best November in 3 years
By Kate Gibson, MarketWatch
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — U.S. stocks ended little changed Friday, with the Nasdaq Composite scoring its first positive November since 2009 as the political rhetoric over the budget continued.
“I don’t think there is a politician out there that wants on their watch an adverse economic outcome. But they could wait for the 11th hour,” Nick Raich, director of Key Private Bank in Cleveland, said of the possible repercussions of not reaching an agreement to block billions in automatic spending cuts and tax increases early next year.
“Our base case is there will be some sort of solution, but it may not occur by or on Dec. 31, so the market is not pricing completely going off the cliff, but more of a roll down the hill,” Raich added.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA +0.03% rose 3.76 points to 13,025.58, leaving it 0.1% higher for the week and off 0.5% from the month-ago close. Read: November’s 5 best and worst Dow stocks.
Up 0.5% for the week and 0.3% for the month, the S&P 500 Index SPX +0.02% finished with a fractional gain at 1,416.18, with the technology sector hardest hit and defensive industries the best performing.
The Nasdaq Composite COMP -0.06% fell less than 2 points to 3,010.24, up 1.5% for the week and 1.1% for the month.
Advancers edged just ahead of decliners on the New York Stock Exchange, where nearly 1.2 billion shares traded. Composite volume neared 3.9 billion.
The U.S. dollar DXY +0.03% edged lower against other currencies, excluding the Japanese yen USDJPY -0.0169% , which fell to its lowest level against the greenback since the spring.
Treasury prices were mixed, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year note 10_YEAR +0.19% used in determining mortgage rates and other consumer loans at 1.62%.
Friday’s economic reports had consumer spending unexpectedly falling and incomes flat in October as Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath prevented many from working and shopping in the Northeast.
“All the focus for December is going to be the cliff. Data is what happened in the past, but if we go off the cliff, what does it mean for the future? Stocks are worried about what is going to happen to 2013-14 earnings estimates,” according to Raich.
President Barack Obama on Friday traveled to a Pennsylvania toy factory where he warned “prolonged negotiations” were likely ahead, and reiterated his call for lawmakers to extend Bush-era tax cuts for middle-income Americans. In Washington, House Speaker John Boehner held a news conference not long after Obama spoke, with the Ohio Republican declaring the budget talks at a “stalemate,” and criticizing the White House for not making a serious offer for a compromise.
“Taxes are going higher and spending cuts are coming. [Federal Reserve Chairman] Ben Bernanke has given us almost 100% clarity on monetary policy, and the market appears to want to go higher if we get some clarity on the fiscal side,” said Raich.
Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York.
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