U.S. stocks began the final trading day of the year mildly lower with Europe's troubles in view. Ahead of Friday's opening bell, Spain's new government unveiled austerity measures and said it expects a 2011 budget gap of nearly 8%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 12 points to 12,274. The S&P 500 shed nearly a point to 1,262. The Nasdaq Composite fell almost 2 points to 2,612. A quiet end to one of the most volatile years in history. The news wires are stagnate this morning. Airline company, AMR is down 28% on news they will be delisted from the NYSE Exchange. Little surprise there except for the timing. The other transports like the rails look much better. The financials are lower which seems appropriate since they were the worse performing sector this year. Most sectors are flat to slightly lower. The Material sector is acting the best so far this morning. Within the sector, Freeport McMoran and Hess are trading higher by a percent. The techs opened lower except for Google. Google is up a half a percent just under it's' 52 week high thanks to an upgrade from an analyst at RW Baird with a whopping $760 price target. The rest of the techs perked up after the open. Through the first hour the averages improved along with most sectors except for the financials. Through the morning the Dow fell back into the red while the Nasdaq held up. In the afternoon the sellers stepped up pushing the Dow lower. The S&P 500 is moving back to the unchanged level for the year and some say the market isn't manipulated. In the last hour the averages drifted lower closing on the lows. The Dow industrials finished down 69 points at 12,217, leaving it up 5.5% for 2011, its second straight annual advance. The S&P 500 shed 4 points to end the day at 1,257.60, just slightly below its 2010 closing level of 1,257.64. The Nasdaq Composite fell 8 points to 2,605, leaving it down 1.8% from its 2010 closing level. Crazy year.
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