Stocks Add to Last Week’s Gains…..

U.S. equities finished higher in lackadaisical trading amid a dearth of directional-driving headlines, with M&A activity and earnings reports the day’s focus. Treasury yields and the U.S. dollar were higher amid a light economic calendar that showed a surprising decline in factory orders, while crude oil prices and gold were lower.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) rose 64 points (0.6%) to 25,064 and the S&P 500 Index gained 2 points (0.6%) to 2,707, and the NASDAQ Composite increased 18 points (1.1%) to 7,264. In moderate volume, 792 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 2.1 billion shares changed hands on the NASDAQ. WTI crude oil declined $0.70 to $54.56 per barrel and wholesale gasoline lost $0.01 to $1.43 per gallon. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price declined $4.85 to $1,313.13 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—was 0.3% higher at 95.84.

Factory orders shrank 0.6% month-over-month (m/m) in November, versus expectations of a 0.3% rise, and compared to October’s unrevised 2.1% decrease. Stripping out the volatile transportation component, orders moved 1.3% lower, below October’s downwardly-revised gain. The final durable goods orders (chart) was revised to 0.7% higher m/m for November, compared to the estimate of a 1.5% rise and was higher than October’s 4.3% loss. Ex-transportation, orders were down 0.4% m/m, versus forecasts of a flat reading and compared to October’s unrevised 0.2% gain. Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, considered a proxy for business spending, was unrevised at 0.6% descent versus October’s 0.1% decline.

Treasuries were lower, as the yields on the 2-year note and the 30-year bond rose 3 basis points (bps) to 2.53% and 3.06%, respectively, while yield on the 10-year note gained 4 bps to 2.72% .

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