NEW YORK – Stocks barely moved Friday, even though durable goods orders jumped by the largest amount in six months.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.88, or 0.01 percent, to 10,890.32. Broader stock indicators were nearly unchanged. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.79, or 0.06 percent, to 1,268.91, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 2.29, or 0.1 percent, to 2,248.78.
Volume was light on Wall Street, as it often is before Christmas. With little in the way of year-end gains to lock in, traders yawned their way through one of the final sessions of the year.
The major economic news came from the Commerce Department, which reported factory orders for big-ticket items were up 4.4 percent to a record $223 billion last month, following a 3 percent gain in October. The data reflected soaring demand for commercial aircraft; durable goods numbers would have fallen had the aircraft figures been removed. So the biggest one-month advance since last May was treated on Wall Street as a non-event.
Bonds rose, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note falling to 4.38 percent from 4.43 percent late Thursday. The dollar was higher against other major currencies in European trading. Gold prices also rose.
Crude oil futures rose slightly. A barrel of light crude settled at $58.43, up 15 cents, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In company news, General Motors Corp. (GM) rose 15 cents to $18.79 after it said it is expanding a recall of sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks with possible antilock brake corrosion to include another 553,000 vehicles in six states and the District of Columbia. GM said in August that it was recalling about 800,000 of the vehicles in 14 northern states. The recall will be expanded to include Delaware, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.
UPS Inc. (UPS) rose 28 cents to $77.12 after the federal mediator overseeing negotiations between UPS Inc. and its pilots union called for an indefinite recess in contract talks. The recess comes a day after the Independent Pilots Association threatened to ask to be released from federal mediation so it can strike, citing three years of contract negotiations with the world's largest shipping carrier that have failed to produce an agreement.
Fashion brand Tommy Hilfiger Corp. (TOM) fell 6 cents to $15.94 after it agreed to be purchased by Apax Partners, a private investment company, for $1.6 billion, or $16.80 a share, in cash. The offer is a 5 percent premium to Hilfiger's Thursday closing stock price of $16 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) fell 23 cents to $48.37 after California court awarded $172 million to thousands of employees who claimed they were illegally denied lunch breaks. A jury on Thursday found the world's largest retailer violated a 2001 state law that requires employers to give 30-minute, unpaid lunch breaks to employees who work at least six hours. Wal-Mart said it will appeal.
Drug maker AstraZeneca PLC (AZN) rose 15 cents to $48.55 after it said it will buy a privately held biotech company with a cancer compound, underscoring its commitment to bolstering its thin pipeline of future pharmaceuticals. AstraZeneca said it will pay $210 million to purchase British company KuDOS Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
Boeing Co. (BA) rose 27 cents to $71.59 after it said it has booked 870 net jetliner orders so far this year, which may put it on track to beat a record set in 1988. Boeing and McDonnell Douglas, which have since merged, booked 877 net orders that year.
Advancing issues led decliners by roughly 2 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume was 748.93 million shares, down from 1.01 billion at the same time Thursday.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 2.13, or 0.31 percent, to 686.21.
Overseas, Japan's stock market was closed for Emperor Akihito's birthday, a national holiday. Britain's FTSE 100 was down 0.03 percent, Germany's DAX index was up 0.38 percent, and France's CAC-40 was up 0.12 percent.