Most U.S. stocks rose in light trading, while bonds fluctuated as signs Russia won't escalate tensions after the downing of its warplane saw investors to shift their attention to evidence the American economy is robust enough to withstand higher interest rates.
The Russell 2000 Index of small-cap equities led gains, while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index meandered amid below-average volumes ahead of Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. The dollar strengthened as orders data added to the picture of a stabilization in manufacturing, even as consumer spending climbed less than was forecast. The euro slipped to a seven-month low on bets regional policy makers will bolster stimulus, while crude oil rose above $43 a barrel. Brazilian assets tumbled as a graft scandal widened.
U.S. and German leaders called for an easing of tensions a day after Turkey's downing of the Russian jet threatened to escalate the conflict in Syria, unsettling financial markets. In the U.S., the biggest part of the economy is off to a slow start to the holiday season, adding an element of doubt as to the strength of the economic recovery even as goods orders pick up. Speculation is mounting that the Federal Reserve will boost interest rates before the year is out, just as the European Central Bank increases stimulus.
The S&P 500 fell less than 0.1 percent to 2,088.87 as of 4 p.m. in New York, capping its third straight move of less than 0.2 percent following its best weekly advance this year. Trading in S&P 500 stocks was 31 percent below the 30-day average. The Russell 200 jumped 0.8 percent to its highest level since Nov. 6.
Energy shares trimmed earlier declines after U.S. government data showed crude-oil stockpiles rose less than analysts forecast. Pfizer Inc. climbed 2.8 percent to lead health-care companies' advance. Macy's Inc. gained 1.9 percent and travel-related companies rebounded to pace an increase among consumer discretionary companies.