Markets spent another session trading in a tight range. Ken Meyers has your stock market report on the Acadiana Business Index.

  • The Dow closed up 39 points to 13074. The S&P 500 Index gained nearly 5 points to 1413 and the NASDAQ advanced 15 points to 2989.
  • Stocks finished higher despite Washington’s ongoing struggles to agree on a budget plan to avert the looming fiscal cliff.
  • Meanwhile in Europe, the ECB cut its euro-area growth forecasts as downside risks linger. Thursday’s encouraging economic data was overlooked as investors wait for developments in budget negotiations.
  • Fewer than anticipated Americans filed for unemployment benefits as claims dropped 25,000 to 370,000. Now the spotlight shifts to Friday’s monthly employment update. The all-important non-farm payrolls number is expected to show the smallest gain since June with 86,000 jobs added in November.
  • Earnings results were on the back burner. H&R Block gained 89 cents to $18.26 after topping revenue estimates and posting a smaller than anticipated loss. Lululemon Athletica was also higher, gaining $4.92 to $73.45, after the besting profit expectations. Overall, most sectors were higher. The technology group was the best performing group as Apple rebounded with a gain of $8.20 to $547.00 to pare yesterday’s drop. Utility and telecommunication shares led decliners as Duke Energy fell 29 cents to $64.17 and AT&T lost 26 cents to $33.65.
  • NYSE Composite volume totaled over 3.1 billion shares. The NYSE was 10-9 positive on issues and 4-3 positive on volume. On the NASDAQ, advancers matched decliners on issues and volume was 11-5 positive. In fixed-income, the 10-year Treasury note was flat to yield 1.58%.

For the complete report, click Ken's Market Report.