* Rise in November pending home sales weaker than expected
* Cooper Tire falls after Apollo Tyres merger terminated
* Crocs stock jumps on Blackstone investment
* Trina Solar climbs after China solar plant deal
* Dow flat, S&P 500 off 0.1 pct, Nasdaq off 0.1 pct
By Curtis Skinner
NEW YORK, Dec 30 U.S. stocks barely moved on
Monday as the S&P 500 index's advance stalled after its best
two-week gain in five months last week, with
weaker-than-forecast housing data and light trading volume
keeping upward momentum in check.
The benchmark S&P 500 had climbed 3.7 percent over
the previous two weeks, the index's best fortnight since July.
The gains came after mounting signs that the economy was gaining
strength, leading the Federal Reserve to announce that it will
scale back its stimulus.
The S&P 500 has soared 29.1 percent this year and is on
track for its best year since 1997, powered largely by the
central bank's stimulus measures. The Dow has jumped 25.8
percent and the Nasdaq has surged 37.7 percent this
"We certainly have had quite an impressive year, and
obviously, a lot of that was helped by the central bank
stimulus. Given what we've seen so far, the path of least
resistance has been to go higher," said Ryan Larson, head of
equity trading at RBC Global Asset Management in Chicago.
The National Association of Realtors said its pending home
sales index, based on contracts signed last month, rose 0.2
percent in November, below expectations of a 1 percent rise.
The Dow Jones industrial average dipped 0.53 of a
point, or unchanged on a percentage basis, to 16,477.88. The S&P
500 slipped 1.98 points or 0.11 percent, to 1,839.42. The
Nasdaq Composite dropped 4.11 points or 0.09 percent, to
Volume continued to be light during the holiday season. The
U.S. stock market will be closed on Wednesday for New Year's
"I wish I had extended my vacation, is the only thing going
through my head because volume is just anemic," said Sam
Ginzburg, head of trading at First New York Securities in New
York. He added that the thin holiday volume could inject "a
little bit of added volatility in the tape."
Twitter Inc, the most actively traded New York
Stock Exchange-listed company by midday, continued its dive on
Monday, falling 4.4 percent to $61 per share. Monday's drop
followed a 13 percent slide from its all-time high closing stock
price of $73.31 on Thursday.
Walt Disney Co gained 2.4 percent to $76.14 as the
best performer on both the Dow and the S&P 500 after Guggenheim
raised its rating on the media conglomerate to "buy" from
"neutral" and raised its target price to $87.
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co rose 3.7 percent to $23.80 -
recovering from earlier losses - after the company said it was
not going ahead with a $2.5 billion merger with India's Apollo
Shares of Crocs Inc shot up 21.2 percent to $16.16
following news that private equity firm Blackstone Group LP
was investing $200 million in a 13 percent stake in the
Trina Solar Ltd climbed 7.2 percent to $14.09 after
the company signed an agreement to develop a solar power plant