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It was a huge day for stocks, as a surprisingly strong year came to a close.First the scoreboard:

Dow: 13,104, +166.0, +1.2 per cent
S&P 500: 1,426, +23.7, +1.6 per cent
NASDAQ: 3,019, +59.2, +2.0 per cent

And now the top stories:

  • It’s December 31, the deadline for the fiscal cliff, and there’s still no deal.
  • However, “We are very, very close” to a deal, said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.   Both parties have reportedly agreed on an income threshold for raising income taxes, which has been crucial to getting a deal done.  Click Here For Our LIVE Ongoing Coverage Of Fiscal Cliff Talks >
  • While the fiscal cliff deadline is only hours away, it might not be the end of the world if a deal isn’t struck tonight.  “So far markets have taken this all reasonably well, assuming there’s a chance of some last-minute deal,” said Goldman’s Jim O’Neill to the Daily Mail.  “Even if they can’t put together something on Sunday, if they can create the impression they can put together a deal in the next couple of weeks then the markets will be OK.”
  • Given the slow recovery and the heightened level of uncertainty, it’s remarkable that the S&P 500 surged 13 per cent this year.  The biggest winners were the housing stocks, which were fuelled by a year evidence confirming a U.S. housing market bottom and recovery.
  • Markets will be closed tomorrow in observance of the New Year’s Day Holiday.
  • Don’t Miss: The Ultimate visualisation Of America’s Boom, Bust, And Epic Comeback >

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