Stocks End Mixed, Recoup Bulk of Losses

U.S. stocks largely erased Wednesday losses, with the S&P 500 Index stalled at five-month highs, amid an ongoing tug between Europe’s debt troubles and hopes for U.S. corporate earnings and an improving domestic economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 13.02 points to 12,449.45. The S&P 500 gained 0.40 point to 1,292.48. The Nasdaq Composite rose 8.26 points to 2,710.76.

Economic conditions improved as 2011 drew to a close, according to the Federal Reserve’s latest survey of economic conditions released on Wednesday.

PVH Corp.(PVH) said late Wednesday it raised its earnings-per-share forecast for the fourth quarter by 5 cents because of strong performance from its Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands. The clothing company now sees adjusted earnings of $1.08 to $1.10 a share, compared with its previous forecast of $1.03 to $1.05 a share.

Ford Motor Co recalled about 450,000 SUVs and minivans in the United States due to potential flaws that could trigger brake fluid leaks or a loss of power, U.S. safety regulators said on Wednesday.

Crude-oil futures ended 1.3% lower on Wednesday after a surprise inventories increase and a higher dollar. Crude for February delivery settled $1.37 lower at $100.87 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Gold futures rose to a four-week high as China’s physical demand surged to a record and Europe’s debt woes spurred demand for a haven. Gold futures for February delivery advanced 0.5 percent to $1,639.70 an ounce at 9:58 a.m. on the Comex in New York.

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