Stocks Close Higher As Hopes For Budget Deal Rise

NEW YORK (December 20, 2012)—Stocks closed higher Thursday as traders hoped 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 60 points to end the day at 13,312 Thursday.

The Dow waffled between small gains and losses early in the day and moved higher in the afternoon.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose eight points to close at 1,444.

The Nasdaq composite rose six to end the day at 3,050.

The Republican-controlled House passed a plan to avert the "fiscal cliff," but President Barack Obama has threatened to veto it.

Rising stocks outnumbered falling ones two-to-one on the New York Stock Exchange where volume was lighter than usual at 3.6 billion shares.

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