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Stocks End Off Lows as Fed Raises Forecast

Stocks declined Tuesday but ended off their lows for the day after the Fed raised its forecast for 2010.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 17.24, or 0.2 percent, at 10,433.71. Earlier, the blue-chip index was down nearly 100 points earlier after a report showed the economy grew less than expected in the third quarter and HP issued a cautious outlook. The S&P 500 shed 0.1 percent and the Nasdaq lost 0.3 percent.

The biggest decliners on the Dow were JPMorgan, Hewlett-Packard and Boeing .

Oil settled below $76.15 a barrel, while gold settled at $1,165.50 a troy ounce.

The Federal Reserve raised its 2010 forecastas the minutes from the Fed's last meeting show policy makers are increasingly optimistic about the sustainability of the recovery.

Today's five-year note auction was met with strong demand: $42 billion of five-year notes were sold at a high yield of 2.175 percent and a bid-to-cover ratio of 2.81, 47 basis points above the average and the highest of the year for the denomination.

GDP was revised to show the economy grew at a 2.8 percent rate in the third quarter, lower than the initial reading of 3.5 percent.

But the Conference Board's gauge of consumer confidence rose to 49.5 in November from 48.7 in October. And home prices improved for a fifth straight monthin September, Case-Shiller reported.

Winterizing Your Portfolio - A CNBC Special Report
Winterizing Your Portfolio - A CNBC Special Report

Technology stocks were one of the biggest decliners after Hewlett-Packardhit its earnings target, as expected, but said economic conditions remain challenging.

Financial stocks also took a hit amid worries about banks' capital after the Fed asked bailed-out banks to submit a plan for repaying the government.

General Electric shares rose after a massive options trade, which bet the stock will jump nearly 44 percent in the next 13 months.

In other earnings news today: Medtronic , Hormel and Heinz beat expectations. Barnes & Noble and Borders delivered weak reports and cautioned that the holiday season will be challenging. American Eagle Outfitters rose after the teen chain hit its earnings target and said it expected a continued improvement in 2010. (Get all the latest earnings news.)

Qualcomm finished flat as the European Commission closed a four-year antitrust case against the chipset maker without levying a fine.

Volume was predictably light: Just 952 million shares changed hands on the New York Stock Exchange. Decliners outpaced advancers, 8 to 7.

As of today's close, the Dow is up more than 100 points, or roughly 1 percent, for the week.

The Dow has ended the holiday-shortened Thanksgiving week higher about 64 percent of the time over the past 59 years — and more recently, it's gained in six of the past eight Thanksgiving weeks. Ironically, its best Thanksgiving week performance since 1950 took place last year, while the financial crisis was accelerating: the Dow gained almost 10 percent that week — but only partially making up for the carnage of the prior three weeks.

Still to Come:

WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage apps; weekly jobless claims; durable goods; personal income; Reuters/U of Mich consumer sentiment; new-home sales; weekly crude inventories; 7-year note auction; Earnings from Deere, Tiffany
THURSDAY: Thanksgiving—all US financial markets closed
FRIDAY: Black Friday—US markets open but NYSE closes at 1pm ET.

Send comments to cindy.perman@nbcuni.com.