Thursday stocks down, but December’s a winner

Dow now off 39 points, at 11,568.

NEW YORK (AP) — Investors are brushing aside some positive economic news on lingering concerns over the housing market.
But while U.S. markets were in negative territory Thursday, stocks are likely to end the year on an upbeat note: The S&P 500 index is up 12 percent and the Dow is up 11 percent in a year marked by big corporate profits. The Dow is back to levels last seen in August 2008, prior to the heat of the financial crisis, while the S&P might just eke out the best December in 20 years, if it manages to go back to positive territory.
At midday, the Dow Jones industrial average was off 23.73 points, or 0.2 percent, to 11,561.70. The S&P 500 edged down 2.64, or 0.2 percent, to 1,257.14, while the technology-focused Nasdaq composite index fell 3.98, or 0.2 percent, to 2,662.95.
The week has been thinly traded, and Thursday is effectively being considered the last trading day of note because of the spate of economic data and also because even fewer traders are expected to show up on Friday, the last day of the year.

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