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Stocks whipsawed by 'fiscal cliff' talks, end flat

NEW YORK (AP) -- The stock market erased most of an early loss in late trading after Republicans said they would reconvene the House of Representatives Sunday in hopes of piecing together a last-minute budget deal.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed with a loss of just 18 points Thursday, erasing an early deficit of 150. At the closing bell the index stood at 13,096. It was the Dow's fourth straight loss.

In addition to the latest budget drama in Washington, investors were also reacting to a sharp drop in consumer confidence this month.

The Standard & Poor's 500 closed down nearly two points at 1,418. The Nasdaq ended down four points at 2,985.

Slightly more stocks fell than rose on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was below average at 2.8 billion shares.

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