NEW YORK — Stocks closed higher Friday after a quiet pre-holiday session that left the Standard & Poor’s 500 index positive for the year.
Traders were relieved by news that Congress had extended a payroll tax holiday for workers and emergency unemployment benefits.
The Dow Jones industrial average finished up 124 points at 12,294. The S&P 500 closed up 11 points at 1,265, above the 1,257 level at which it started this year. The Nasdaq closed up 19 at 2,619.