The S&P 500 closed at 1247, a new 52-week closing high, trading intraday as high as 1250. Flows and themes through the afternoon were largely consistent with the morning on light volumes and attendance, combined with a few fundamental positives.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 13.78 points, or 0.12%, to close at 11,478. The S&P 500 rose 3.17 points, or 0.25%, to close at 1247, and the NASDAQ was up 6.59 points, or 0.25%, to finish at 2649.

Performance was somewhat mixed with a few cyclicals (discretionary, energy, materials), financials and some defensives (utilities, telecom) outperforming, while the rest of the market lagged a bit. Energy was the top sector in the market, moving up 0.7% on strength in refiners, E&Ps and coals, thanks to a rise in crude and natural gas.

Commodities finished the session higher, despite the strength in the U.S. dollar. Within precious metals, silver continued its momentum from the morning to end near its highs, while gold was flattish in the afternoon.

CBOE Volatility IndexI:VIX volatility stayed elevated on individual strikes on more calls than puts, suggesting traders expect an increase in the VIX. The index closed up 1.86%, at $16.41, on put volume of 101,000 contracts compared to 152,000 call contracts.

The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) - Get Report closed up $0.30, at $124.60. January 120 puts were active on 127,700 contracts as traders began to purchase an inexpensive hedge into the holiday on the theme there will always be demand for downside puts and that the market might sell off with a spike in implied volatility on thin volume. January put option implied volatility is at 15, February at 17 and March at 19 below it's 26-week average of 22, suggesting decreasing near-term price movement.

The Power Shares QQQ Trust (QQQQ) closed up $0.04, at $54.56. Total put volume of 161,000 contracts compared to 110,000 calls contracts, with December 23 (W) 54 puts as the most active series. January put option implied volatility is at 17, February is at 19 and March is at 21, versus its six-month average of 22, suggesting low near-term price movement compared to outer months.

The following economic data are expected to be released on Tuesday: ICSC Goldman Store Sales due out at 7:45 a.m. EST; Wednesday: MBA Purchase Applications due out at 7:00 a.m. EST, GDP and Corporate Profits at 8:30 a.m. EST, Existing Home Sales at 10:00 a.m. EST and the EIA Petroleum Status Report at 10:30 a.m. EST; Thursday: Durable Goods, Personal Income and Outlays and Jobless Claims due out at 8:30 a.m. EST, Consumer Sentiment at 9:55 a.m. EST, New Home Sales at 10:00 a.m. EST and the EIA Natural Gas Report at 10:30 a.m. EST. There will be no economic data on Friday as the markets are closed in observance of Christmas.

The following notable companies are expected to report Tuesday before the open: CAG, CCL, CMC and KMX; earnings after the close: CTAS, FINL, HOV, NKE, PRGS, RHT and TIBX; and Wednesday before the open: AM, LNN, NAV and WAG; earnings after the close: BBBY, CBK and MU.

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