Stocks Ended Little Changed, Oil Settled Lower

U.S. stocks ended little changed on Thursday, as investors remained reluctant to make big bets in a thinly-traded session ahead of long holiday weekend. The Dow declined 13.90 points, or 0.07%, to 19,819.78. The S&P 500 was off 0.66 point, or 0.03%, to 2,249.26. The Nasdaq Composite lost 6.47 points, or 0.12%, to 5,432.09.

Oil futures ended lower Thursday, snapping a four-day win streak after weekly data showed a rise in U.S. crude inventories. West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery fell 29 cents, or 0.5%, to close at $53.77 a barrel.

Gold futures notched a fourth straight advance Thursday, finishing at a two-week best and trimming their December decline to roughly 1.4%, as the dollar index pulled back from 14-year highs. Gold futures for February delivery settled up $16.80, or 1.5%, to $1,157.70 an ounce in light volume.

U.S. government bonds extended gains Thursday, further pulling down yields after the final Treasury auction of the year was met with impressive demand. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell 4.4 basis points to 2.464%.

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