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Overnight Markets: Dow Jones climbs to record on Walt Disney

Overnight Markets: Dow Jones climbs to record on Walt Disney

US stocks closed mostly flat on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaching an all-time closing high and heading towards its biggest annual gain since 1996, as Walt Disney Co. led a rally in consumer shares.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 26 points, or 0.16%, to end at 16,504, a record close. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index closed little changed at 1,841. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell two points, or 0.06%, to close at 4,154. The US stock market will be closed on Wednesday for New Year's Day.

The S&P 500 has soared 29.1% this year and is on track for its best year since 1997, powered largely by the Federal Reserve’s stimulus measures. The Dow has jumped 25.9% and the Nasdaq has surged 37.6% this year.

In economic data, the National Association of Realtors said its pending home sales index, based on contracts signed last month, rose 0.2% in November, below expectations of a 1% rise.

In corporate news, Twitter Inc (TWTR.N), among the most actively traded stocks on the New York Stock Exchange, continued its dive on Monday, falling 5.1%.

Facebook Inc. (FB.O) was the S&P 500's second-worst performer. The stock fell 3.12%.

Consumer-discretionary shares had the largest advance. Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) surged 2.5% and ranked as the best performer in both the Dow and the S&P 500 after Guggenheim raised its rating on the media conglomerate's stock to "buy" from "neutral" and raised its target price to $87.

Shares of Crocs Inc (CROX.O) shot up 21.1% following news that private equity firm Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) was investing $200 million in a 13% stake in the shoemaker.

Cooper Tire & Rubber Co (CTB.N) was up 5.4% after the company said it was not going ahead with a $2.5 billion merger with India's Apollo Tyres Ltd (APLO.NS).

Trina Solar Ltd (TSL.N) climbed 6.5% after the company signed an agreement to develop a solar power plant in China.

Energy producers fell with Pioneer Natural Resources Co. sliding 3.1%, while Tesoro Corp. decreased 1.4%. Exxon Mobil Corp. lost 1.2% and Chevron Corp. slipped 0.8%.

In Asia, shares outside Japan gained on Tuesday as consumer and utilities companies advanced.

The MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index climbed 0.2% to 468 as of 1:01 p.m. in Hong Kong. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slid 0.1%, paring this year’s advance to 15%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.3%, extending its 2013 advance to 2.9%.

Taiwan’s Taiex Index fell 0.2%. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index slid 0.7%, paring this year’s advance to 16%. India’s S&P BSE Sensex Index gained 0.3%, having reached a record high this month and risen 9.1% in 2013.

Markets in Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam are closed.

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