REACTION TO CONTRACTION: U.S. manufacturing shrank in November to its weakest level since July 2009, according to the Institute for Supply Management. ISM said businesses were concerned about the approaching "fiscal cliff."

COUNTER PROPOSAL: Republicans, led by House Speaker John Boehner, made a counter proposal in the ongoing budget talks. President Barack Obama wants to raise taxes by $1.6 trillion over the coming decade, while Republicans want to raise $800 billion. Investors looked on but barley flinched.

DECEMBER CHEER: The arrival of December should be good for investors. The last month of the year is historically the best for stocks. The S&P 500 has advanced an average of 2 percent over the past 30 years during the month of December, according to Schaeffer's Investment Research.

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