S&P 500 floats up to record close in quiet day on Wall St.

NEW YORK Mon Dec 9, 2013 5:06pm EST

1 of 2. Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange December 9, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks edged higher on Monday, with the S&P 500 closing at a record high, as traders awaited more clues from the Federal Reserve on whether the U.S. central bank would soon begin winding down its economic stimulus.

Volume was light and a volatility index fell, signaling calm among traders. The Dow industrials traded within 43.11 points from session high to intraday low, in the Dow's tightest daily range since August 17, 2012.

Speeches from a number of policymakers on Monday suggested that the Fed may be closer than previously thought to trimming its $85 billion a month in bond purchases. The stimulus program has helped drive the U.S. stock market's rally this year.

A recent string of strong economic data, however, has removed some of the market's anxiety about the eventual ending of the Fed's quantitative easing program.

A Reuters poll showed on Monday that economists expect the Fed to begin trimming its quantitative easing program in March, but some are warming up to the idea that it will do so as early as this month or at the January meeting.

The policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee will hold its final meeting of 2013 on December 17-18.

"The Fed isn't going to tighten (monetary policy) any time soon; they will taper, but only because the economy doesn't need the stimulus anymore," said John Manley, chief equity strategist at Wells Fargo Funds Management in New York.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 5.33 points or 0.03 percent, to finish at 16,025.53. The S&P 500 .SPX gained 3.28 points or 0.18 percent, to end at 1,808.37, a record closing high. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 6.23 points or 0.15 percent, to close at 4,068.751.

The S&P 500 is up 26.8 percent for the year. The benchmark index is on track for its biggest annual gain in more than a decade.

Twitter's stock closed at its highest level since the company went public in early November. The stock jumped 9.3 percent to end at $49.14 after a spate of product announcements that could boost Twitter's revenue prospects.

Sysco Corp (SYY.N) shares climbed 9.7 percent to $37.62 after the food distributor said it would buy rival US Foods for about $3.5 billion and assume about $4.7 billion in debt to create a company with about $65 billion in annual revenue.

In contrast, McDonald's (MCD.N) shares fell 1.1 percent to $95.72 after the fast-food restaurant chain reported weaker-than-expected global sales at established restaurants for November. A sharp drop in comparable-store sales in the United States hurt its global sales, McDonald's said.

Shares of Edwards Lifesciences Corp (EW.N) dropped 5.4 percent to $62.73 after the company forecast 2014 earnings below analysts' estimates and said it would face new competition in the United States and Europe.

About 5.6 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, below the 6.16 billion average so far this month, according to data from BATS Global Markets.

Advancers and decliners were evenly distributed on the New York Stock Exchange. On the Nasdaq, two issues rose for every three that fell.

(Editing by Jan Paschal)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (1)
bertanderson wrote:
I don’t think any of the numerous Fed Bank President’s will mention tapering. We know what happened when the economy was showings signs of recovery in August, September and October and somebody mentioned tapering…it sent the markets down. Now that were exceeding the goals of expected recovery with the recent data, nobody still wants to mention tapering….so keep printing money at 85 billion forever….it’s good for the stock market!!! Let it ride

Dec 09, 2013 12:02pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.