NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. equity indices closed flat on Monday as light trading heading into the New Year holiday left many market participants on the sidelines at the end what is expected to be the best year for stocks since 1997.

The S&P 500 finished down 0.02% at 1,841.07. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.16% to 16,504.29, boosted by Walt Disney (DIS) shares hit all-time highs. The Nasdaq dipped 0.06% to 4,154.20 as Apple (AAPL) shares slid.

The S&P 500 is up 29%, and many investment strategists remain positive that the market will post another gain in 2014.

"Against this backdrop, we would advise investors to continue overweighting stocks in their portfolios," wrote Russ Koesterich, global chief investment strategist at BlackRock. "Equities may not be as inexpensive as they were a year ago, but they remain more attractive than bonds and cash."

Walt Disney shares were the top performer in the S&P after Guggenheim analyst Michael Morris wrote in a note to clients that Disney has upside potential due to a "robust" content cycle and international growth. Shares were up 2.5% to $76.23.

Shares of Twitter tumbled 5.1% as traders continue to punish the stock, which lost 13% on Friday. At its current price, the micro-blogging site is nearing levels it opened at Dec. 23, before a big three-session rally. Facebook  (FB) and LinkedIn  (LNKD) were down 3.1% and 0.79%, respectively. 

The Dallas Federal Reserve released its December manufacturing survey as the general business activity index hit 3.1, shy of the average expected reading 0f 4.0 among economists surveyed by Bloomberg. It was the seventh positive report in a row, however. 

The National Association of Realtors reported that pending home sales for November gained 0.2%, which was less than economists' expectations of a 1% gain, as a rise in borrowing costs continued to slow the housing recovery. 

In company news, Apple  (AAPL) shares decreased 1% to $554.52 in afternoon trading.  Shares of the iPhone maker are up 4.2% for 2013.  On the whole, the tech-heavy Nasdaq index has outperformed the S&P this year.

Cooper Tire & Rubber  (CTB) gave up on plans to merge with Apollo Tyres as Cooper said it no longer had financing available to continue with the transaction. Shares of the company jumped 5.4% to $24.20 a share, after initially falling on the news in early morning and premarket trading.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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