Dow Gains 49 Before Holiday
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 24, 2008 12:34 PM CST
Traders sing the depression-era song "Wait Til The Sun Shines Nelly" on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2008 in New York.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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(Newser) – Stocks posted modest gains today amid light holiday trading, the Wall Street Journal reports. Drops were reported in orders for durable goods and consumer spending, but they were smaller than expected. The Dow closed up 48.99 points at 8,468. The Nasdaq gained 3.36 points to settle at 1,525, and the S&P 500 rose 4.99 to 868.

Crude oil fell $1.38 to $37.60 a barrel despite a report showing a drop in US inventories. Durable-goods orders fell 1% last month, beating forecasts of a 3% drop. Consumer spending likewise fell 0.6%, slightly less than the 0.7% drop economists expected. Mortgage applications jumped 48% last week as interest rates neared record lows.