Stocks held back by fiscal-cliff worries

The major averages end the day little changed in light Veterans Day trading. Tuesday's market may open lower. Titanium Metals and Jefferies Group jump on merger announcements. Gilead Sciences rises on hopes for hepatitus treatment. Apple slips again.

By Charley Blaine Nov 12, 2012 5:19PM
Updated: 3:32 a.m., Wednesday

(Reuters) - Stocks pushed higher Monday as bargain-hunters emerged after last week's selloff, though concerns of a drawn-out battle over the "fiscal cliff" put a cap on gains.

Barclays cut its year-end target for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) to 1,325 from 1,395, citing the government spending cuts and tax increases that will take effect early next year unless Congress acts before then.

The S&P 500 dropped 2.4% last week, the worst week for the index since June. The drop was partly propelled by concerns about whether there will be a timely solution to avoid the "fiscal cliff," the combination of tax increases and federal spending cuts set to take effect on Dec. 31.

At the close, the Dow Jones industrials ($INDU) were flat at 12,815. The S&P 500 was flat at 1,380, and the Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) dropped 1 point to 2,904.

The Nasdaq-100 Index ($NDX) dropped 1 point to 2,583. Apple (AAPL), the biggest influence on the index, was off $4.23 to $542.83, its fourth loss in five days.

Though most consider it unlikely that a deal will not be reached, analysts fear going over the cliff could push the economy back into recession. There are also concerns that a protracted debate could hurt business and investment sentiment.

"It's just the uncertainty. It's going to continue to have that negative influence on any kind of small business growth or hiring or planning," said Alan Lancz, president of Alan B. Lancz & Associates in Toledo, Ohio.

"You not only have it for small businesses and the like, but on the investor side, too."

Stocks traded little changed for much of the day. A late afternoon rally faded at the close. Volume was light, with the U.S. bond market and government offices closed for the Veterans Day holiday.

But futures trading early Tuesday suggests a potentially nasty open. Weighing on Asian and European markets were worries about the U.S. fiscal cliff.

Eurozone finance ministers last night postponed agreement on Greece’s long-delayed 31.3-billion euro ($40 billion U.S.) aid payment for yet another week as divisions between the International Monetary Fund and EU creditors over how fast Athens must reduce its burgeoning debt levels burst into the open.

Earnings are due from Dow components Home Depot (HD) and Cisco Systems (CSCO) as well as upscale retailers Michael Kors (KORS) and Saks (SKS) and discount retailer TJX companies (TJX).

Crude oil (-CL) settled down 50 cents to $85.57 a barrel in New York; Brent crude was down 33 cents to $109.07 a barrel in London.

Gold (-GC) settled unchanged at $1,730.90 an ounce in New York.

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Gilead Sciences (GILD) helped pull the Nasdaq higher after the company reported over the weekend a 100% cure rate using a combination of drugs in a small number of patients with the most common and hardest to treat form of hepatitis C. Gilead was up $8.91 to $73.92.

The S&P 500 is still up about 10% for 2012, though recent months have eroded those gains. The Nasdaq has fallen for five straight weeks.

Some major acquisition news gave investors reason for optimism on Monday. Precision Castparts (PCP) ]offered to buy Titanium Metals (TIE) for $2.9 billion, while Leucadia National (LUK) agreed to buy investment bank Jefferies Group (JEF) for $3.6 billion.

Shares of Titanium surged $4.93 to $16.50 while Jefferies climbed $2 to $16.27. Precision rose $8.36 to $179.69. Leucadia fell 66 cents to $21.14.

Overseas, a report over the weekend showed China's export growth climbed to a five-month high, beating expectations and adding to recent data suggesting the country's seven straight quarters of slowing economic growth have ended.

Investors also watched the latest developments from the euro zone debt crisis. Euro zone governments will not agree to disburse more money to debt-ravaged Greece on Monday, despite the country's approving a tough 2013 budget, because there is not yet a consensus on how to make its debts sustainable into the next decade.

As a result, the region's finance ministers may have to talk again later this week.

Short hits from the markets -- New York close



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U.S. bond markets were closed Monday for the Veterans Day.

-- Charley Blaine contributed to this report.
Nov 12, 2012 8:12PM

So the new blame is the "fiscal cliff"?


The past year it has been Europe's fault, now it is finally our own..........


Re-elect an incompetent to run the economy and this is what you get.  Poor Obama now has to deal with the messes he inherited......... from HIMSELF!

Nov 12, 2012 7:36PM
The march towards marxist redistribution of the wealth and the destruction of the foundation blocks of America took another giant leap forward on Nov. 6.
Nov 12, 2012 7:34PM
"AP) - Hostess Brands Inc. is permanently closing three bakeries following a nationwide strike by its bakers union.

The maker of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread said Monday that the strike has prevented it from producing and delivering products, and it is closing bakeries in Seattle, St. Louis and Cincinnati. The facilities employ 627 workers.

Hostess, based in Irving, Texas, operates 36 bakeries nationwide and has about 18,300 employees. It warned earlier this month that the strike, by about 30 percent of its workforce, could lead to bakery closures.

"We deeply regret this decision, but we have repeatedly explained that we will close facilities that are no longer able to produce and deliver products because of a work stoppage — and that we will close the entire company if widespread strikes cripple our business," Hostess Brands CEO Gregory F. Rayburn said."

Huh...So a company will shut down facilities that no longer produce and deliver products - SHOCKING!  And what part of that don't the unions understand?  Apparently all of it...

Nov 12, 2012 7:27PM

Aren't we all glad theat Barry got elected?? As everyone predicted the stock market has taken a nose dive after Obama was re-elected and with the Barry's plan on the "fiscal cliff" to cut spending and raise taxes ..... it most certainly will send our country back into recesion.


By the way ... where has Barry been since his talk show tour on Jay Leno, David Letterman, The View (yuck), etc ...... Barry .. where are ya??? Got your head back in the sand?? In  the basment making beer??


Is there any way, we can get a do-over in the election???

Nov 12, 2012 7:18PM
everyday i hear how gold is gonna go flying through the roof. where is this massive breakout in gold? especially in the month of nov.
Nov 12, 2012 7:11PM
I see the FEDs with their QE1,QE2,QE3 has done such a fine job ! And gee all this free money from the FEDs at the Fed window on wall street is doing such a fine job ! And Ben went to  Harvard.. LMFAO. I thought all this and them Bush tax cuts were to create jobs??? A decade latter and LOL No jobs , go figure.. But !!! He went to Harvard economics school ! So much for all them collage boys ... LMFAO real hard...
Nov 12, 2012 7:01PM
Wall Street could care less about any fiscal cliff. They are in manipulation mode to drive down stock prices and any good news or anything else that keeps them from doing that pisses them off!!
Nov 12, 2012 6:55PM
What you mean to say is, stocks held back by obama.
Nov 12, 2012 6:49PM
From an opinion piece published today by Peter Morici...

"The federal deficit exceeds $1 trillion dollars—up from $161 billion in 2007, the last year before the financial collapse. Spending is up some $1 trillion, as outlays for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlements have increased by an amount equal to the entire 2013 defense budget."

"From 2001 to 2005, the trade deficit doubled to more than $700 billion, thanks to subsidized imports from China, restrictions on US sales into the Middle Kingdom and rising oil prices. This resulting loss of demand for US-made goods and services should have instigated a recession; however, Chinese and Middle East oil exporters stepped up purchases of US securities, and those helped finance questionable mortgages, car loans and credit card debt."

"All told, absent major changes in trade and energy policies to boost domestic demand and growth, budget deficit reduction is not possible without another long, hard recession. And absent genuine deficit reduction, the country is headed for economic chaos by the end of the decade."

Nov 12, 2012 6:43PM
Interesting reprint from "trust verify" over on the other hard news page comments:

The Banker

Hello, my name is Montague William 3rd
And what I will tell you may well sound absurd
But the less who believe it the better for me
For you see I’m in Banking and big industry

For many a year we have controlled your lives
While you all just struggle and suffer in strife
We created the things that you don’t really need
Your sports cars and Fashions and Plasma TV’s

I remember it clearly how all this begun
Family secrets from Father to Son
Inherited knowledge that gives me the edge
While you peasants, people lie sleeping at night in your beds

We control the money that controls your lives
Whilst you worship false idols and wouldn’t think twice
Of selling your souls for a place in the sun
These things that won’t matter when your time is done

But as long as they’re there to control the masses
I just sit back and consider my assets
Safe in the knowledge that I have it all
While you common people are losing your jobs

You see I just hold you in utter contempt
But the smile on my face well it makes me exempt
For I have the weapon of global TV
Which gives us connection and invites empathy

You would really believe that we look out for you
While we Bankers and Brokers are only a few
But if you saw that then you’d take back the power
Hence daily terrors to make you all cower

The Panics the crashes the wars and the illness
That keep you from finding your Spiritual Wholeness
We rig the game and we buy out both sides
To keep you enslaved in your pitiful lives

So go out and work as your body clock fades
And when it’s all over a few years from the grave
You’ll look back on all this and just then you’ll see
That your life was nothing, a mere fantasy

There are very few things that we don’t now control
To have Lawyers and Police Force was always a goal
Doing our bidding as you march on the street
But they never realise they’re only just sheep

For real power resides in the hands of a few
You voted for parties what more could you do
But what you don’t know is they’re one and the same
Old Gordon has passed good old David the reigns

And you’ll follow the leader who was put there by you
But your blood it runs red while our blood runs blue
But you simply don’t see its all part of the game
Another distraction like money and fame

Get ready for wars in the name of the free
Vaccinations for illness that will never be
The assault on your children’s impressionable minds
And a micro chipped world, you’ll put up no fight

Information suppression will keep you in toe
Depopulation of peasants was always our goal
But eugenics was not what we hoped it would be
Oh yes it was us that funded Nazis!

But as long as we own all the media too
What’s really happening does not concern you
So just go on watching your plasma TV
And the world will be run by the ones you can’t see

Written By Craig-James Moncur

READ IT AND WEEP.  As long as they keep us at each other...
is another day "they win" again.

Nov 12, 2012 6:31PM
Flat day on Wall Street? I don't get it, the boy-king was just re-elected because ...well you know....his first 4 years were soooo successful. The markets should be up at least 3,000 points by now. I blame George Bush...and that rat-bastard with his evil weather machine, Dick Cheney. Yeah, that's the ticket.....

Ride toward that cliff like Thelma and Louise! This gov. will not fix anything. Too much pride. That Repubic-ans and Dumicrats. It's all one side wins all! Good luck with that! The good ole days of officoals looking out for America, with compromise for the people are gone.

Now we get to answer the question-"What would have happened if Carter got 4 more years?"

Nov 12, 2012 6:20PM
Why don't you market morons go out and do something with pathetic selves!
Nov 12, 2012 5:51PM
If we... CLOSE THE BANKS, END THE FEDERAL RESERVE and GET RID OF WALL STREET... no of us will have to worry about the Fiscal Cliff. We won't work, we won't have cash and can't pay taxes. See... solves all our problems.

Fire hired-in executives and deadbeat Board directors. Re-hire America and pay them fairly.

Nov 12, 2012 5:50PM

Another RED (Down) day for the markets as investors are scared of NOBAMA's tax plans! Glad I dumped last week before the SH$T hit the fan, I'll sit on the side lines until I see something on the positive side which isn't happening yet!

Nov 12, 2012 5:47PM
Stodk market cruds are the mos paranoid skitso idiots on the face of the earth. One blames Obama after they have had one of the best years in memory. guess the RNC did not shoot all their trolls.
Nov 12, 2012 5:39PM
Today was a nothing day for the market.

Let's see what the rest of the week brings.

Nov 12, 2012 5:37PM
Probably even if they pass the tax increases, I  don't see any reason business will pick up since businesses don't know the impact of Obama care on their bottom line.  More hoarding of cash and very little hiring, just the bare minimum.  Thanks Obama for continuing to keep the economy in the dumps.

Also, I see that many companies will probably issuing a one time dividend to the stockholders so that the dividends will be taxed at a lower rate this year.  Boy I sure do love capitalism.

Nov 12, 2012 5:29PM
Bush tax cuts set to expire, when they do the capital gains on your stocks will be taxed not at the current 15%, but at the marginal rate. You have until January first.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished an upbeat week on a mixed note. The S&P 500 shed less than a point, ending the week higher by 1.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) cemented a 1.7% advance for the week. High-beta names underperformed, which weighed on the Nasdaq Composite (-0.3%) and the Russell 2000 (-1.3%).

Equity indices displayed strength in the early going with the S&P 500 tagging the 2,019 level during the opening 30 minutes of the action. However, ... More


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