(By Balachander) U.S. stocks closed on a flat note as concerns over the looming "fiscal cliff" weighed on the sentiment.
The S&P 500 Index inched 0.01 percent higher to end at 1,380. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished flat at 12,815.16. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 0.02 percent to close at 2,904.26.
Investors weighed on the so-called fiscal cliff of roughly $600 billion in spending cuts and tax increases that could weigh on economic growth. Last week, President Barack Obama called for higher taxes on wealthy Americans to address the deficit and invited Congressional leaders to the White House to hold talks on averting the cliff.
Meanwhile, China's export growth jumped to a five-month high of 11.6 percent, data released by the Chinese Customs Office showed. Economists expected an increase of 10 percent. China's trade surplus came in at $31.99 billion in October versus expectations of $27.15 billion.
Euro area finance ministers met in Brussels to discuss on the aid for Greece. On Sunday, the Greek government passed a new round of austerity package.
The U.S. economic data calendar is empty and bond markets are shut for the Veterans Day holiday.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: GILD, CELG, BBY, JEF, TIE, DHI, BZH, CLVS, PCP
In corporate news, Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) soared 13.71 percent after the biopharmaceutical company posted positive results in a mid-stage hepatitis C study.
Celgene Corp. (NASDAQ: CELG) jumped 5.82 percent after the company's pancreatic cancer treatment Abraxene improved survival rates in a late-stage study.
Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) added 3.59 percent after the consumer electronics giant said it has appointed Williams-Sonoma retired financial chief Sharon McCollam as its new chief financial officer, effective December 10.
Jefferies Group Inc. (NYSE: JEF) surged 14.02 percent after Leucadia National Corp. (NYSE: LUK) agreed to acquire rest of the securities and investment banking firm for roughly $2.76 billion. Leucadia owns around 28.6 percent of the New York-based Jefferies.
Titanium Metals Corp. (NYSE: TIE) jumped 42.61 percent after the maker of melted products agreed to be acquired by Precision Castparts Corp. (NYSE: PCP) for $2.9 billion. PCP shares rose 4.61 percent.
D.R. Horton Inc. (NYSE: DHI) fell 5.83 percent after the homebuilder posted its quarterly revenue that trailed expectations.
Beazer Homes USA Inc. (NYSE: BZH) plunged 17.25 percent after the homebuilder posted a wider quarterly loss as a loss on debt extinguishment offset rise in revenue and in new orders. Excluding the loss on debt extinguishment of $42.4 million, net loss from continuing operations narrowed for the fourth quarter.
Clovis Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ: CLVS) slumped 41.83 percent after the company said it will suspend the development of an experimental cancer treatment following data from trials. Chief Executive Patrick Mahaffy the study results were "even more unambiguous than we could have imagined."
European markets ended on a mixed note amid uncertainty over whether Greece will be able to receive the next round of bailout package. Germany's DAX inched up 0.07 percent to close at 7,168.76. France's CAC40 fell 0.35 percent to finish at 3,411.65. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 lost 0.04 percent to end at 5,767.27.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index added 0.49 percent to finish at 2,079.27. Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 0.93 percent to end at 8,676.44. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index inched up 0.21 percent to end at 21,430.30. India's BSE Sensex closed at 18,670.34, down 0.07 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Crude oil futures lost 0.53 percent to $85.61 per barrel, while natural gas futures added 2.11 percent to $3.58 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures dipped 0.19 percent to $1,727.6 per ounce and silver futures fell 0.70 percent to $32.37 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro inched 0.02 percent higher against the U.S. dollar to 1.2712. The British pound dipped 0.08 percent against the greenback to 1.5885, and the dollar slipped 0.03 percent against the Japanese yen at 79.4700.