Markets Quiet Before Weekend

New York (Dec 28)   As expected, markets were relatively quiet Friday with no economic data aside from natural gas inventory numbers. Many traders and investors are likely sitting on the sidelines until the new year. Major indices started the day with small gains which were slowly erased throughout the day before ending almost completely flat. The Dow lost 0.01 percent, closing at 16,478.66. The S&P 500 lost 0.03 percent, closing at 1,841.41. The Nasdaq lost 0.25 percent, closing at 4,156.59.                                                                                                                                               Gold gained 0.16 percent, trading at $1,215.00 an ounce. Oil gained 0.68 percent, trading at $100.23 a barrel. Silver gained 0.65 percent, trading at $20.05 an ounce. News of Note EIA Natural Gas Inventory declined 177 bcf which prompted oil for February delivery to trade above the $100 mark for the first time since October. President Obama has signed into law the two year budget deal which eases spending cuts. Holiday sales rose by 2.3 percent this year according to data from MasterCard Advisors. Jewelry and children clothing’s showed strong gains. Online sales were up at a double-digit pace yielding slower mall traffic.