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[video] Stocks Post Weekly Decline as 'Santa Claus' Rally Beckons

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks fell this week as concerns of a December Federal Reserve tapering remained on the table even as some market strategists said a 'Santa Claus' could lift shares higher heading into the new year.

  • The S&P 500 slipped 0.01% to 1,775.32 as the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.1% to 15,755.36. The  Nasdaq was 0.06% higher at 4,000.98.
  • "Most of the professionals are looking for that Santa Claus rally," Chris Bouffard, chief investment officer at The Mutual Fund Store, said in a phone interview. "So many of them are expecting a melt up into the end of the year."
  • Historically, the seasonally strong December period begins around Dec. 17.
  • The House approved a two-year spending plan by a 332-94 vote Thursday evening - the first bipartisan Federal budget in four years. Key negotiators Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) expressed optimism about preventing another budget shutdown like the one in October. Murray: "We are now one step closer to a bipartisan budget that would prevent another crisis." Ryan: The agreement "will stop Washington's lurch from crisis to crisis."
  • Producer prices were stable in November. The Producer Price Index arrived less than expected at negative 0.1%. The core level rose 0.1% as expected. A lack of inflation pressure could give the Federal Reserve reason to pause as it weighs the benefits of continuing its monthly bond purchases when it meets next week.
  • Germany's DAX was down 0.12% while the FTSE dropped 0.08%. The Nikkei closed 0.40% higher while the Hang Seng finished up 0.12%.
  • U.S. markets closed lower Thursday as retail sales beat expectations in November while jobless claims rose. Markets have been fluctuating near historic highs in anticipation of the Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting starting on Dec. 17
  • S&P Winner and Loser: Adobe Systems  (ADBE) soared as the top performer in the S&P 500 after it announced customer sign ups gained faster than expected. Shares popped 12.8% to $60.89. Anadarko Petroleum  (APC) was the worst performer, tumbling 6.4% to $78.30.

-- By Jane Searle and Joe Deaux in New York

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