Stock Ended Higher on Hope for a Budget Deal

U.S. stocks closed higher on Thursday as traders hope that lawmakers and the White House can agree on a budget deal in time to avoid steep tax hikes and cuts in government spending at the beginning of the year.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 59.75 points, or 0.45%, to 13,311.72. The S&P 500 index climbed 7.88 points, or 0.55%, to 1,443.69. The Nasdaq Composite index added 6.03 points, or 0.20%, to 3,050.39.

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday cleared the way for debate and votes later in the day on two Republican tax and spending-cut bills opposed by President Barack Obama.

U.S. sales of previously occupied homes jumped to their highest level in three years last month, bolstered by steady job gains and record-low mortgage rates. The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that sales rose 5.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million in November. That’s up from 4.76 million in October.

Gold futures stumbled Thursday, and silver prices dropped for a sixth straight session. Gold for February delivery  fell $21.80, or 1.3%, to $1,645.90 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. March silver futures sank $1.44, or 4.6%, to $29.68 an ounce.

Research In Motion (RIMM) reported fiscal 2013 third quarter earnings that beat diminished expectations. It reported revenue of $2.7 billion and a net loss of 22 cents a share. That beat Wall Street expectations of $2.6 billion in revenue or an adjusted loss of 35 cents a share,

Industrial conglomerate Siemens AG (SI) says it will cut about 1,100 jobs in its energy division in Germany over the next two years amid a wider cost-cutting effort.






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