Stocks finish 2010 with a whimper amidst sluggish holiday trading, although equity indices delivered quite a strong year in performance.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 7.80 points, or 0.07 percent, to 11,577.51. The S&P 500 index edged down 0.24 of a point, or 0.02 percent, to 1,257.64. The NASDAQ composite index slipped 10.11 points, or 0.38 percent, to 2,652.87.

Nonetheless, the Dow finished at its highest level since August 2008 and the S&P 500s scored its best December in nineteen years.

For the year, the Dow rose about 11 percent, the S&P 500 climbed 13 percent, and the NASDAQ jumped almost 17 percent.

Universal American Corp. (NYSE: UAM) skyrocketed 40.04 percent after it agreed to sell its Medicare prescription drug unit to CVS Caremark (NYSEL CVS) for $1.25-billion.

Oil futures surged 1.76 percent to close at $91.42 per barrel; gold futures climbed to almost $1419 per ounce.

Bonds rose as the yield on the 10-Year Treasury Note slipped to 3.31 percent.