Stocks Hug the Flat Line

Oil is rising $2 to $39.71 a barrel.
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Updated from 9:26 a.m. EST

Stocks in New York kicked off the final week of 2008 with a sporadic start Monday.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was up 2.6 points at 8518, and the

S&P 500

tacked on 4.6 points at 872. The

Nasdaq

was down 2.1 points at 1528.

Stocks in New York made slight headway on Friday with light news flow.

On Sunday

Kuwait's government

canceled a deal with

Dow Chemical

(DOW) - Get Report

, or K-Dow Petrochemicals. The $17.4 billion collaboration, set to begin Thursday, is too risky due to oil prices and the financial crises, according to Kuwait.

Rohm & Haas

(ROH)

said its proposed buyout by Dow Chemical is unaffected.

In economic data, consumer confidence, initial jobless claims and manufacturing surveys are due out this week. Discouraging

retail figures

began to emerge in front of the weekend, as sales lagged this holiday season as expected. They fell between 5.5% and 8% compared with the year prior's holiday season, according to preliminary data from SpendingPulse, a division of MasterCard Advisors.

Financial conditions continue to deteriorate globally. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said Monday that as many as 600,000 people could lose their jobs in Britain next year. That would make 2009 the worst year for unemployment since 1991, according to a report on

CNBC

.

Meanwhile, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez said Saturday that his government will seize several gold mining concessions previously granted to wealthy private operators. President Chavez said the move should offset decreasing oil prices with proceeds from the state-controlled gold. On Monday, oil was rising $2 to $39.71 a barrel, while gold gained $8.40 to $879.60 an ounce.

Longer-dated U.S. Treasury securities were mixed. The 10-year note was rising 4/32 to yield 2.1%, and the 30-year was flat, yielding 2.6%. The dollar was weaker against the euro and yen, and stronger against the pound.

Overseas, European exchanges such as the FTSE in London and the DAX in Frankfurt were edging higher -- up 2.2% and 1.7%, respectively. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei and Hong Kong's Hang Seng ended slightly higher.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.