U.S. stocks fluctuate as House passes budget deal

U.S. stocks fluctuated, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index poised for the biggest weekly loss since August, as losses in oil producers and phone shares offset gains after the House of Representatives passed a budget deal.

Adobe Systems Inc. climbed 12% as it attracted more subscribers to its online software in the quarter than some analysts had predicted. Texas Industries Inc. jumped 13% as people familiar with the matter said it is seeking a buyer. Anadarko Petroleum Corp. fell 7.6%, leading energy stocks lower as a judge ruled the company may have to pay as much as $14 billion in a case related to the spinoff of Tronox Inc.

The S&P 500 rose 0.2% to 1,778.25 at 3:24 p.m. in New York. The equity benchmark has fallen 1.5% this week, poised for the biggest decline since August. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 44.35 points, or 0.3%, to 15,738.78 today. Trading in S&P 500 stocks was 8% less than the 30-day average at this time of day.

“Investors are a little tired after 12 months of the market,” John Manley, who helps oversee $233.6 billion as chief equity strategist for Wells Fargo Funds Management in New York. “The budget accord is a plus right now, but there are more technical forces at work. People are looking for gains before year-end.”

Monetary Stimulus

The S&P 500 has surged 25% this year, putting it on course for the biggest annual gain since 2003, as the Fed continued to buy assets. Three rounds of monetary stimulus -- or quantitative easing -- from the central bank have helped propel the index to a 163% rally from a 12-year low in 2009.

The House passed a budget late yesterday that limits automatic spending cuts and avoids another government shutdown. The deal protects entitlement programs favored by the Democrats and corporate tax breaks that Republicans have demanded. Almost equal numbers of lawmakers from both political parties voted for the compromise. The Senate needs to approve the legislation and President Barack Obama has to sign it.

“Everyone’s just pleased that they got a budget deal done and that they were able to work out a compromise,” Dan McMahon, director of equity trading at Raymond James Financial Inc. in New York, said in a phone interview. “There’s a lot of anticipation about the Fed meeting next week. There’s the potential that they could talk about some tapering, though I think it’s probably unlikely.”

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