Stocks mixed on last trading day before Christmas
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks ended mixed in a light day of trading Thursday after reports showed small improvements in consumer spending and the job market.
The Commerce Department reported that consumer spending rose 0.4 percent in November from the month before. That was slightly below expectations of a 0.5 percent gain.
In a separate report, the Labor Department said the number of people applying for unemployment benefits for the first time dropped by 3,000 last week to 420,000. That number is just low enough to indicate modest job growth.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 14 points, or 0.1 percent, to close at 11,573.49. That’s its highest close since Aug. 28, 2008. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 2.07, or 0.2 percent, to 1,256.77. The Nasdaq composite index fell 5.88, or 0.2 percent, to 2,665.60.
The three major indexes ended the shortened trading week higher. The Dow rose for the fourth straight week, inching up 0.7 percent. The S&P 500 rose 1 percent, and the Nasdaq 0.8 percent.