NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Though rising throughout the morning, major U.S. markets reversed direction by midday, if only minimally, seemingly putting the brakes on a "Santa Claus" rally which propelled the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a record closing high on Thursday. Even so, with only three trading sessions left in 2013, equities are set to end the year with the best performance since 1997.

  • By market close, the S&P 500 had dropped 0.03% to 1,841.46. The Dow had shed 0.01% to 16,479.05, while the tech-heavy Nasdaqsuffered the worst losses, unloading 0.25% to 4,156.59.
  • The equity markets look to be closing in on a stellar year, bolstered by ongoing Federal Reserve stimulus and the return of a robust U.S. economy. Year to date, the Dow has soared 25.75%, the S&P 500 gained 29.1% and the Nasdaq popped 37.66%.
  • U.S. benchmark government bond yields increased to more than 3% on Friday, a two-and-a-half year high. The U.S. 10-year Treasury note yield topped 3.02%, a sign the U.S. economy is steadily improving. 
  • An estimated 1.3 million long-term unemployed workers will lose essential federal unemployment benefits on Saturday, a product of the bipartisan federal budget agreed upon this month to curtail government spending. The number of long-term unemployed ballooned to more than 6.7 million in the first half 2010 but has since declined to 4 million.
  • Global markets ended the week on a high, with the FTSE 100 0.85% higher, France's CAC 40 adding 1.44% and Germany's DAX up 0.92%.
  • European markets were strengthened on the announcement the European Central Bank and Bank of England will leave interest rates at record lows for the foreseeable future.
  • A record week for Twitter(TWTR) - Get Report ended badly when Macquarie Capital downgraded the stock, warning it was moving "too far, too fast." The stock closed 13% lower to $63.75. Before Friday, the social network had gained 22.2%, even in spite of a shortened trading week.
  • A computer glitch on Thursday sparked an unintentional sale on Delta's (DAL) - Get Report website, offering flights as low as $12.83. The airline said it would honor the discounted tickets sold.
  • Textron(TXT) - Get Report added 1.1% to $36.61 on the news it has agreed to pay $1.4 billion to acquire Beechcraft. The acquisition will see Textron, a relatively small plane maker, rapidly expand its manufacturing portfolio including the addition of Cessna planes and Bell helicopters.
  • China's quality control group, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, said it would recall more than 1.46 million General Motors(GM) - Get Report vehicles beginning Monday. The U.S. automaker, and its Chinese partner SAIC Motor Corp, are to recall inventory with defective fuel-pump brackets. After gaining 1.6% on Thursday, GM stock has shed 1.4% to $40.94.

--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff.