Stocks Ended Flat on Fiscal Stand-off

Stocks finished nearly unchanged in a lightly traded session on Monday, on thinking the standoff in Washington will be resolved before spending cuts and tax hikes take place in January. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 0.23 point to 12,815.16. The S&P 500 index gained 0.15 point to 1,380.00. The Nasdaq Composite declined 0.61 point to 2,904.26.

Verizon Wireless said on Monday that its board agreed to pay distributions of $8.5 billion to its parents Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc.

UK lawmakers criticized executives of Starbucks, Google and Amazon on Monday for not paying more tax in Britain and Amazon said it had received a $252 million demand for back taxes from France.

Jefferies Group Inc is selling itself to Leucadia National Corp, its biggest shareholder, in a deal aimed at reassuring investors it has access to long-term funding. Leucadia, which models itself on Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and owns companies ranging from real estate to mining, is paying $2.76 billion in stock for the 71 percent stake of Jefferies it does not own.

Crude-oil futures settled lower Monday, slipping back below $86 a barrel. Oil for December delivery fell by 50 cents, or 0.6%, to settle at $85.57 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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