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NEW YORK, Nov 30 AFP

December 01 2012, 08:58AM

US stocks took a jump in the last 15 minutes of trade on Friday to end mostly in the black, with little hard news to direct trade as talks in Washington over a fix to the fiscal cliff continued.

After trading under water for most of the session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the day up 3.76 points (0.03 per cent) at 13,025.58.

The S&P 500 gained 0.23 (0.02 per cent) to 1,416.18.

The Nasdaq Composite slipped a bare 1.79 (0.06 per cent) at 3,010.24.

The markets continued to brush off political sparring over the cliff talks, with traders seeming to presume that the deep divide between Democrats and Republicans will be overcome before the January 1 deadline for implementation of harsh tax hikes and spending cuts.

Utilities and non-cyclical consumer goods were generally higher while resource stocks and health companies fell.

Trade was strong in discount chain Dollar General amid analyst chatter over whether it was undervalued, but the shares ended just 0.3 per cent higher at $50.00.

Yum Brands, the global KFC and Pizza Hut owner, plunged 9.9 per cent as it cautioned that China sales would be soft in the fourth quarter and it cut its 2013 profit forecast.

Zynga fell 6.1 per cent after announcing a change in its relationship with Facebook, the host of many of its web games, that will allow it to move to other online platforms but also allow Facebook to develop its own games.

Internet registry VeriSign sank 13.2 per cent as regulators limited its ability to raise prices for domain names.

Groupon shares sank 8.7 per cent after three days of gains, still managing to end a week surrounded by rumours of management infighting with a 4.9 per cent rise.

Bond prices gained. The 10-year US Treasury yield slipped to 1.61 per cent from 1.62 per cent on Thursday, while the 30-year moved to 2.79 per cent from 2.80 per cent.

Bond prices and yields move inversely.