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Stocks mixed on final day of trading

Stocks ended a gut-wrenching 2010 quietly Friday. The major indexes were little changed and trading volume was at one of its lowest levels of the year as many traders took the day off.

Despite investors' concerns about the U.S. economy, the possibility of European countries defaulting on debt, the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index and the Dow Jones industrial average both rose about 14 percent for the year, including dividends. The Nasdaq composite index, meanwhile, rose about 18 percent for the year after dividends.

At Friday's close, the Dow gained 7.8 points, or 0.1 percent, to 11,577.51. The S&P 500 fell 0.24 to 1,257.64. The Nasdaq composite index dipped 10.11, or 0.4 percent, to 2,652.87.

The Dow finished the year at its highest level since August 2008, before the height of the financial crisis. The S&P had its best December gain since 1991.

The numbers hide the fact that it was a rocky year. Stocks plunged in the spring after Greece required an emergency bailout to deal with its debt crisis. That raised concerns about debt in other European countries, including Ireland, which needed a bailout later in the year. The Dow fell 14 percent from a high of 11,205.03 on April 26 to its low of 9,686.48 on July 2.

The May 6 "flash crash," which sent the Dow down to a loss of nearly 1,000 points in less than a half-hour, also rattled investors. The sudden drop was later attributed to a fund company that used a complex computer trading program. - AP

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