Stocks Mixed on Last Trading Day Before Christmas

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New York, NY (AP) - Stocks are ending mixed after reports showed
small improvements in consumer spending and the job market.

The government reported Thursday that consumer spending rose 0.4
percent in November from the month before. That was slightly below
expectations of a 0.5 percent gain.

Separately, the Labor Department said the number of people
applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to 420,000.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 14 points, or 0.1 percent,
to 11,573. The S&P 500 index fell 2, or 0.2 percent, to 1,256. The
Nasdaq composite index fell 6, or 0.2 percent, to 2,665.

Falling stocks outpaced rising ones by a small margin on the New
York Stock Exchange. Volume was a light 613 million shares on the
last trading day before the Christmas holiday.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)