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US: Stocks end little changed amid weakness in oil shares

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks finished little changed on Monday as the positive buzz about the holiday shopping season was offset by weakness in petroleum-linked shares due to lower oil prices.

Retailers posting gains included Amazon, Gap and Macy's, as analysts welcomed signs American consumers were buying with greater gusto than in the last few years.

"The retail position is in a much better position that it was a year ago," said Nancy Tengler chief investment officer of Heartland Financial USA. "Consumers are in super good shape."

Early data on the key "Cyber Monday" sales promotions showed spending increased 16.9 compared with last year, according to Adobe.

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US investor sentiment also got a boost from data showing new home sales rose 6.2 per cent in October to an annual rate of 685,000 units, seasonally adjusted, the fastest pace since October 2007, the Commerce Department said in its monthly report.

But petroleum-linked shares declined on skepticism that a meeting of Opec producers later this week would yield a significant agreement to curb output. Dow members ExxonMobil and Chevron and oil service companies Halliburton and Transocean all fell.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 0.1 per cent at 23,580.78.

The broad-based S&P 500 slipped less than 0.1 per cent to end the day at 2,601.42, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.2 per cent to 6,878.52. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq ended at records Friday.

Time Inc jumped 9.5 per cent on news it agreed to be sold for US$2.8 billion to media conglomerate Meredith Corporation. Time publishes its eponymous news magazine, as well as Fortune and Sports Illustrated. Meredith surged 10.7 per cent.

AFP

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