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Stocks Trade Mixed Ahead of Close; 3M Rises
20 Dec 2010 EST - CNBC.com
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Stocks continued to trade narrowly mixed ahead of the close amid thin trading and a lack of economic news as stocks struggled to move beyond recent highs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 10 points as the market struggled to hold on to December gains.

3M , Alcoa and JPMorgan advanced, while American Express and Boeing fell.

The S&P 500 was up, although off its 52-week high of 1,250.20, while the Nasdaq also gained. The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, fell to just above 16.

Through last Friday, the Dow had gained nearly 4.5 percent for the month, and more than 10 percent for the year-to-date, while the S&P 500 Index was trading at a 52-week-high, up more than 5 percent for the month and 11.55 percent for the year-to-date. The Nasdaq was up nearly 6 percent for December, and 16.5 percent for the year-to-date.

Among key S&P 500 sectors, energy, consumer discretionary and telecom rose.

The dollar gained slightly against a basket of foreign currencies as the euro struggled against the Swiss Franc amid continuing euro zone debt concerns. Gold remained a strong safe-havenalternative Monday, gaining nearly $7 to close at $1,385.50 an ounce, amid tensions in Korea and concerns about Europe.

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