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Stocks end flat, but rise for third straight month

U.S. stocks on Friday tallied a third month of gains, as retailers including eBay and Best Buy rose on hopes for a robust holiday shopping weekend.

"What little numbers out there from shopping are positive," said Chip Cobb, portfolio manager at BMT Asset Management.

"There is somewhat of an upside for holiday shopping, since it's so compressed with almost a week less than normal, people are trying aggressively to do these deals that had everybody opening up early," said Cobb. 

"People want to wish this market down, but I don't think it's happening before the end of the year; it might be well into the first quarter before we see a significant pullback," Cobb said.

After climbing to another record close on Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average slipped 10.92 points, or 0.07 percent, to end unofficially at 16,086.41. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index dipped 1.42 points, or 0.08 percent, to finish unofficially at 1,805.81. But the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 15.14 points, or 0.37 percent, to close unofficially at 4,059.89. 

Markets closed three hours ahead of usual after being shuttered Thursday for the Thanksgiving Day holiday.

"I think there's a realization towards the end of the year that the global economy is better than we thought this summer, that's part of it," said Art Hogan, market strategist at Lazard Capital Markets.

Archer Daniels Midland shares fell after Australia on Friday blocked the takeover bid by the producer of food and feed ingredients for GrainCorp, with the country acquiescing to concerns from grain producers.

The Nasdaq also climbed, up 1.9 percent for the week, and 3 percent for the month.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude-oil futures rose $1.3, or 1.4 percent, to $93.60 a barrel; gold futures rose $14, or 1.2 percent, to $1,25`.80 an ounce, on track for its worst November since 1978, when it fell 19.7 percent. Heading for its third consecutive monthly drop, gold is off 10 percent over the past three months.

The dollar declined against the currencies of major U.S. trading partners, while the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose 2 basis points to 2.76 percent.

Both the Dow and the S&P 500 ended at records on Wednesday after jobless claims fell and a gauge of consumer confidence topped expectations.

—By CNBC's Kate Gibson

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