* U.S. stocks little changed in light trade
* U.S. bond market closed in Veterans Day observance
* Greece to get more time but no immediate aid on Monday
* Soy hits 4-month low, almost erasing drought rally
By Ellen Freilich
NEW YORK, Nov 12 U.S. stocks ended little
changed after a lightly traded session o n M onday as investors
hedged bets before a policy debate aimed at heading off U.S. tax
hikes and spending cuts early next year.
Firmer economic data from China and delays to an installment
of Greek aid also were trading day topics.
News that Chinese exports rose sharply in October, signaling
the giant economy was strengthening, argued for buying riskier
assets. The safe-haven U.S. Treasury market was closed on Mo nday
in observance of Veterans Day.
But stock market gains were limited, made tentative by
concerns about the euro zone and possible higher U.S. taxes and
spending cuts that could kick in early next year.
On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index remains up 10
percent for 2012.
In Chicago, grain futures tumbled amid a wave of technical
selling, with soybeans sinking to a 4-1/2-month low that nearly
erased gains from this summer's devastating drought.
Prices had already been under pressure after the U.S.
Department of Agriculture o n F riday raised its estimate for U.S.
soybean production more than expected and increased its forecast
for global inventories. Most actively traded January soybeans
fell 3.08 percent to $14.065 a bushel on the Chicago Board
The euro was flat against the dollar but near a two-month
low, at $1.2707 as uncertainty about another tranche of
financial aid for Greece to help pay off its debt kept investors
cautious. The euro is down about 1.9 percent against the dollar
so far in November.
Last week's stock market weakness was partly driven by
concerns about whether there will be a timely solution to avoid
a combination of government spending cuts and tax increases set
to take effect early next year. Economists fear tax increases
and spending cuts could tip the economy back into recession if a
deal is not reached.
"The markets don't like uncertainty and while the election
is over, investors must still deal with the fiscal cliff, the
debt ceiling and the unpredictable situation in Europe," said
Randy Frederick, managing director of active trading and
derivatives at Charles Schwab, in Austin, Texas.
"But keep in mind, the markets are clearly oversold in the
short-term and even a hint of resolution on any of these issues
could spark a nice bounce," he said.
The Dow Jones industrial average ended down 0.23
point, or 0.00 percent, at 12,815.16. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was up 0.15 point, or 0.01 percent, at 1,380.00.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 0.62 point, or 0.02
percent, at 2,904.25.
Overseas, a weekend report showing China's export growth
climbed to a five-month high added to recent data suggesting the
country's seven straight quarters of slowing economic growth
Although Greece approved a tough austerity budget for 2013
on Sunday, its international lenders still need to agree on how
to make its debts sustainable into the next decade.
The MSCI world equity index was down 0.14
percent at 322.79 by 2145 GMT.
In Europe the FTSEurofirst 300 Index slipped 0.26
percent at 1,094.35 after last week's 1.6 percent drop. London's
FTSE 100 was down 0.04 percent and Frankfurt's DAX
was up 0.07 percent while Paris' CAC-40 was
down 0.35 percent.
The uncertainty over the Greek aid talks and the U.S. budget
impasse supported German government bonds, with 10-year yields
steady at 1.35 percent.
In the oil market, worries about the danger of the United
States, the world's top oil consumer, tipping into recession as
a result of the fiscal cliff and weak Japanese data weighed on
Brent crude oil futures fell 37 cents to $109.01 by
2130 GMT, after gaining more than 2 percent on Friday. U.S. oil
was down 40 cents at $85.67 after finishing up more than
1 percent last week to end a three-week slide.
Gold was at $1,727.09 an ounce, well above a 2-month
low around $1,672 hit last week.