Wall Street dips as 'fiscal cliff' fears outweigh data

NEW YORK Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:27pm IST

A street sign stands outside the New York Stock Exchange on August 19, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files

A street sign stands outside the New York Stock Exchange on August 19, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson/Files

Related Topics

Stocks

   

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell slightly on Thursday, pulling back from six straight days of gains despite a batch of positive economic releases as "fiscal cliff" negotiations in Washington weighed on sentiment.

Weekly claims for jobless benefits dropped near the lowest level since February 2008 and retail sales rose in November after an October decline, improving the picture for consumer spending.

Best Buy Co (BBY.N) shares shot up more than 18 percent after a report that the company's founder is expected to offer to buy the consumer electronics retailer by the end of the week.

Trading was constrained by the drawn-out fiscal talks between Democrats and Republicans. Investors worry that tax hikes and spending cuts set to begin in 2013 if a deal is not reached in Washington will hurt growth. Republican House Speaker John Boehner accused President Barack Obama of "slow-walking" the economy off the fiscal cliff.

"There's a lot of confusion. Nobody knows what's going to happen with the cliff," said Tom Schrader, managing director of U.S. equity trading at Stifel Nicolaus Capital Markets in Baltimore.

Despite the overarching concerns, the S&P 500 has managed gains for six sessions, touching its highest level since October 22 on Wednesday.

"I don't know if there's a lot of anticipation that they're going to get anything done, but the market doesn't seem too worried about it," Schrader said.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was down 9.35 points, or 0.07 percent, at 13,236.10. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX lost 0.88 point, or 0.06 percent, at 1,427.60. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC rose 3.60 points, or 0.12 percent, at 3,017.41.

A day after the Federal Reserve announced a new round of stimulus for the economy, markets focused on Chairman Ben Bernanke's reiteration that monetary policy would not be sufficient to offset going over the fiscal cliff.

European Union finance ministers reached agreement to make the European Central Bank the bloc's top banking supervisor, which could boost confidence in EU leaders' ability to confront the euro zone's sovereign debt crisis.

CVS Caremark Corp (CVS.N) gained 3.0 percent to $48.97 after saying it expects higher earnings in 2013.

Best Buy's stock was trading up $2.09 at $14.27 at midday.

Jobless claims dropped 29,000 to a seasonally adjusted 343,000, indicating healing in the labor market.

(Editing by Kenneth Barry)

FILED UNDER:

Telecom

Reuters Showcase

Insurance Bill

Insurance Bill

Opposition support bolsters prospects for insurance reforms  Full Article 

SBI Share Sale

SBI Share Sale

SBI's up to $2.4 billion share sale likely by end April - sources   Full Article 

Eicher Share Sale

Eicher Share Sale

Truck maker Volvo sells shares in Eicher Motors  Full Article 

Beef Ban

Beef Ban

After beef ban, Hindu groups force abattoirs to close   Full Article 

Monsoon Season

Monsoon Season

Exclusive - India expects better monsoon rains this year  Full Article 

Services Growth

Services Growth

Services growth at eight-month high in Feb - HSBC PMI  Full Article 

'India's Daughter'

'India's Daughter'

Documentary on 2012 Delhi gang rape banned in India  Full Article 

Capex Slashed

Capex Slashed

Cairn India slashes 2015-16 capex on falling crude   Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage