US stocks eke out last-minute gains

US stocks took a jump in the last 15 minutes of trade Friday to end mostly in the black, with little hard news to direct trade as talks in Washington over a fix to the fiscal cliff continued.

After trading under water for most of the session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the day up 3.76 points (0.03 percent) at 13,025.58.

The S&P 500 gained 0.23 (0.02 percent) to 1,416.18.

The Nasdaq Composite slipped a bare 1.79 (0.06 percent) at 3,010.24.

The markets continued to brush off political sparring over the cliff talks, with traders seeming to presume that the deep divide between Democrats and Republicans will be overcome before the January 1 deadline for implementation of harsh tax hikes and spending cuts.

Utilities and non-cyclical consumer goods were generally higher while resource stocks and health companies fell.

Trade was strong in discount chain Dollar General amid analyst chatter over whether it was undervalued, but the shares ended just 0.3 percent higher at $50.00.

Yum Brands, the global KFC and Pizza Hut owner, plunged 9.9 percent as it cautioned that China sales would be soft in the fourth quarter and it cut its 2013 profit forecast.

Zynga fell 6.1 percent after announcing a change in its relationship with Facebook, the host of many of its web games, that will allow it to move to other online platforms but also allow Facebook to develop its own games.

Internet registry VeriSign sank 13.2 percent as regulators limited its ability to raise prices for domain names.

Groupon shares sank 8.7 percent after three days of gains, still managing to end a week surrounded by rumors of management infighting with a 4.9 percent rise.

Bond prices gained. The 10-year US Treasury yield slipped to 1.61 percent from 1.62 percent Thursday, while the 30-year moved to 2.79 percent from 2.80 percent.

Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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