Gains in Amazon.com Inc. and Walt Disney Co. helped U.S. stocks mute declines led by energy shares, as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index struggled to advance for the year entering the final trading days of 2015.

The S&P 500 slipped 0.2 percent to 2,056.55 at 4 p.m. in New York, as the gauge in afternoon trading whittled down an earlier 0.8 percent decline. This week is shortened, with markets closed for the New Year’s Day holiday on Friday.

While policy makers expect the pace of future rate boosts will be gradual, they have emphasized that the path depends on progress in economic data. Reports this week include readings on home prices, consumer confidence and pending home sales.

Stocks are still defying the historical trend of gains in the final month of the year. Amid a series of sharp rallies and selloffs revolving around investor focus on the first U.S. rate increase in almost a decade, the S&P 500 is heading for its worst December since 2002, down 1.2 percent. The main U.S. equity benchmark today lost its slim advance for the year, now down 0.1 percent after weaving between gains and losses throughout December.

Source : Bloomberg