U.S. stocks closed narrowly mixed Monday to kick off a holiday shortened week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average marking another record closing high, as major indices were poised to wrap up 2013 with the biggest gains in more than one decade.
The Dow added 25.88 points, or 0.16 percent, to 16,504.29. The S&P 500 edged down 0.33 point, or 0.02 percent, to 1,841.07. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 2.40 points, or 0.06 percent, to 4,154. 20.
The three indices hovered around the flatline before finishing in mixed territory, with the blue-chip Dow on track for the best yearly gain since 1996 and the broader S&P 500 expected to notch the best year since 1997.
Going towards the end of the year, investors are considered to tend to hold their breath, reluctant to make a big wager at the close of a blockbuster year for the U.S. equity market.
However, some analysts still expressed their optimism on Wall Street in 2014 following its whopping gain in the outgoing year.
Thomas Lee, chief U.S. equity strategist at JP Morgan, predicted that the S&P 500 could hit 2,075 points by the end of 2014, representing a double-digit gain from now, in an interview with CNBC Monday. He also said that there is a one in three chance that the U.S. equity market can repeat this year's impressive rally next year.
On the economic front, U.S. pending home sales index, a forward- looking indicator based on contract signings, edged up 0.2 percent to 101.7 in November from a downwardly revised 101.5 in October, according to the National Association of Realtors.
With a light economic calendar, trading volume is expected to remain thin this week, as the U.S. stock market will be closed Wednesday for New Year's Day.
In corporate news, Twitter shares continued to dip, down 5.08 percent to 60.51 U.S. dollars a share, after an analyst at Macquarie last Friday downgraded the microblogging site's stock to underperform from neutral, citing a lack of change in fundamentals to justify its recent stock rally.
Overseas, the stock markets posted a mixed picture, with European stocks ending in negative territory broadly and the Japanese benchmark Nikkei index refreshing a new high in six years.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered as a fear gauge of the market, soared 8.83 percent to finish at 13.56.
In other markets, oil prices Monday dropped for the first time in four trading days following considerable gains last week. Light, sweet crude for February delivery lost 1.03 dollars to settle at 99.29 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for February delivery decreased 97 cents to close at 111.21 dollars a barrel.
Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped on Monday, setting for their biggest annual losses in more than 30 years. The most active gold contract for February delivery tumbled 10.2 dollars to settle at 1,203.8 dollars per ounce.
The U.S. dollar weakened Monday as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said he sees no need for further rate cuts.
In late New York trading, the euro rose to 1.3804 dollars from 1.3733 dollars in the previous session. The dollar bought 105.11 Japanese yen, lower than 105.14 yen of the previous session.