Stocks, which fell early in the session on some gloomy remarks on the economy from Federal reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, pared much of their losses later in the day on hopes that The Republicans and Democrats in Congress can hammer out a compromise on extending the Bush tax cuts as well as unemployment benefits.

US equity indices finished mixed on the day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 19.90 points, or 0.17 percent, at 11,362.19; the S&P 500 index edged down 1.59 points, or 0.13 percent, at 1,223.12; and rhe Nasdaq composite moved up 3.46 points, or 0.13 percent, at 2,594.92.

On CBS’ “6o minutes” program last night, Bernanke warned it could take five years before US labor markets becoming normalized again. He also said a new round of quantitative easing is possible.

Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S) leapt 6.4 percent after saying it begin phasing out the Nextel part of its network in 2013.

Bonds rose modestly as the yield on the 10-year Treasury Note edged down to 2.94 percent.

Gold futures climbed to a new record above $1424 per ounce, while oil futures fell slightly.