Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange,
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, January 11, 2010. REUTERS

Stocks finish flat on the last trading day prior to the Christmas holiday.

A slew of economic data made little impression on investors.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDU) edged up 4.66 points, or 0.04 percent, to 11564.15; the S&P 500 index slipped 2.07 points, or 0.16 percent, to 1256.77; and Nasdaq shed 2.21 points, or 0.08 percent, to 2665.60.

For the week, however, the major stock indices climbed an impressive 1 percent.

The Department of Labor reported that initial jobless claims fell by 3,000 to 420,000 last week, versus expectations that they would rise to 424,000.

The Commerce Department reported that personal income rose 0.3 percent and personal spending climbed 0.4 percent in November.

The Commerce Department also reported that orders for durable goods declined 1.3 percent in November, slightly more than the expected 1.1 percent fall.

Also, new home sales index for November rose 5.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 290,000, from a 275,000 October.

However, sales remain 21.2 percent below the year-ago figures.

The University of Michigan's final reading on consumer sentiment in December edged up to 74.5 from 74.2 in the previous month.

Jo-Ann Stores (NYSE: JAS) surged 31.95 percent on news that it will be acquired by private-equity firm Leonard Green & Partners for $1.6 billion, or $61 per share in cash.

Oil futures leapt more than 1 percent to close at $91.49 per barrel. Gold futures edged downward.

Bonds slipped as the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury moved up to 3.39 percent.