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US STOCKS-Wall St gains on energy stocks and GMAC
* Energy stocks lift Dow as oil rises, GM helps * Retailers dip, but Amazon, Jones Apparel bright spots * Dow up 0.6 pct, S&P up 0.5 pct, Nasdaq up 0.4 pct * For up to the minute market news, please click on [STXNEWS/US] (Updates to close, changes byline)
By Deepa Seetharaman
NEW YORK Dec 26 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks advanced on light volume on Friday as energy stocks climbed alongside oil prices while General Motors rose after its financing arm qualified for government funds, helping it stave off potential bankruptcy.
The Federal Reserve opened the door for GMAC LLC to become a bank holding company on Wednesday, letting it tap into government lending programs. For details, see [ID:nN24278654]
Still, little could change the fact that 2008 was wrapping up as one of the worst years for stocks and the global economy as a whole. By some measures, U.S. households have lost about $10 trillion in wealth this year alone, according to a Merrill Lynch research note.
"This recession is global and it's deep and, more importantly, it's probably still deepening," said Chip Hanlon, president of Delta Global Advisors, Inc. in Huntington Beach, California.
"Everyone is hoping for a Santa Claus rally, but you look at the underlying data and it's still weak."
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 47.07 points, or 0.56 percent, to end at 8,515.55. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX gained 4.65 points, or 0.54 percent, to 872.80. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC added 5.34 points, or 0.35 percent, to 1,530.24.
But for the week, the Dow declined 0.7 percent while the S&P 500 lost 1.7 percent and the Nasdaq shed 2.2 percent.
The Fed's decision to make GMAC, which extends loans to car buyers, eligible for aid under the government's $700 billion bailout fund removed some uncertainty and eased investors' concerns.
Shares of GM (GM.N) jumped about 13 percent to $3.66, while the stock of rival Ford Motor Co (F.N) gained 8.5 percent to $2.29.
U.S. oil futures CLc1 rose above $37 a barrel after the United Arab Emirates joined leading exporter Saudi Arabia in increasing supply curbs in line with OPEC's announcement last week of its biggest-ever output cut.
Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) topped the Dow's ranks of major advancers, gaining 1.9 percent to $77.19, and Chevron Corp (CVX.N) added 1.1 percent to $70.35. The S&P index of energy stocks .GSPE jumped 1.8 percent.
But rising fuel costs hurt airlines, and the Amex index of airlines .XAL fell 0.6 percent. Among the heaviest weights on the airline index was US Airways Group (LCC.N), which fell 2.9 percent to $7.43.
On the Nasdaq, shares of semiconductor companies dragged, including computer graphics company Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O), which fell 2.7 percent to $7.51. Google Inc (GOOG.O) was among the top drags on the Nasdaq, slipping 0.9 percent to $300.36.
An index of semiconductors stocks shed 0.4 percent.
Retailers also edged down on the day after Christmas. The S&P 500 index of retailers .RLX slipped 0.1 percent after a report showed U.S. sales fell as much as 4 percent during one of the worst holiday shopping climates in modern times.
But Amazon.com (AMZN.O) and Jones Apparel (JNY.N) were among the bright spots in the retail sector and helped lift the market. Amazon.com's stock rose 0.7 percent to $51.78 on Nasdaq after the Internet retailer said it had its best holiday shopping season ever. [ID:nWNAB5898]
Jones Apparel (JNY.N) surged 44.5 percent to $5.62 on the New York Stock Exchange after the company said it had reduced its $1.25 billion in lines of credit into a single line of $600 million. [ID:nN26257923]
Volume was slim on the New York Stock Exchange, where about 516.5 million shares changed hands, far below last year's estimated daily average of 1.90 billion. On the Nasdaq, about 592.1 million shares traded, also sharply below last year's daily average of 2.17 billion.
Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a ratio of about 3 to 1, while on the Nasdaq, about eight stocks rose for every five that fell. (Additional reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Jan Paschal)
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