Stocks dipped on skepticism there will be a substantial budget deal. Stocks were off earlier lows on optimism budget leaders will come up with some sort of a quick fix before time runs out before the year-end deadline.
Historically, the day before Christmas sparks a so-called Santa Claus rally. That's when markets rise between Christmas and New Year's Day on positive investor sentiment and investment of year-end bonuses. Not so today, amid continuing concerns over the fiscal cliff.
At the close of the holiday-shortened session, the Dow and Nasdaq were was down .34% and the S&P was down .24%. Hewlett Packard (NYSE:HPQ), Microsft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) were among big losers on the Dow.
Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange did finish up with their traditional singing of "Wait 'til the Sun Shines, Nellie." Despite the dwindling number of floor traders, the song has been sung every year on Christmas Eve and News Year's Eve since the Great Depression.
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