“U.S. stocks closed slightly higher for a second day Thursday, thanks to strength from the technology sector, including Apple’s 1.6% rise. But the gains were limited as investors refrained from making big bets as long as the fiscal cliff remains unresolved,” Hibah Yousuf reports for CNNMoney. “The Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 rose 0.3%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq added 0.5%.”

“Investors also continued to keep an eye on the latest labor reports leading up to the closely watched monthly jobs report due Friday. The Labor Department reported Thursday that the number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits dropped 25,000 to 370,000 last week,” Yousuf reports. “Economists surveyed by CNNMoney predict that Friday’s report will show the U.S. economy added only 77,000 jobs in November, a sharp drop from the previous month, when 171,000 jobs were created.”

Yousuf reports, “On the corporate front, Apple shares rose, following a two-day loss of 8%. In an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams scheduled to air Thursday evening, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple will begin manufacturing one of its existing Mac line of computers exclusively in the United States next year.”

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Rita Nazareth and Lu Wang report for Bloomberg, “The S&P 500 swung between gains and losses earlier today. Intraday price fluctuations in the benchmark index averaged 0.8 percent over the past five days, the smallest since September, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. ‘The market is showing not much conviction,’ said Stephen Carl, head equity trader at Williams Capital Group LP in New York. ‘Fiscal cliff is on the forefront, stalling any moves at the moment. If there is a disparity one way or the other from tomorrow’s jobs report, you will probably see a move in the market.'”

Nazareth and Wang report, “Data tomorrow is forecast to show U.S. payrolls rose by 85,000 workers last month, the smallest gain since June, according to the median forecast of economists.”

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