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.

Energy prices -- New York close



Mon.     Fri.

Month chg.

YTD chg.
Crude oil (-CL)

$85.57

$86.07

-0.78%

-13.42%
(per barrel)











Heating oil (-HO)

$2.9992

$3.0055

-2.06%

2.92%
(per gallon)











Natural gas (-NG)

$3.5700

$3.5030

-3.30%

19.44%
(per mil. BTU)











Unleaded gasoline (-RB)

$2.6763

$2.6992

1.75%

0.71%
(per gallon)











Brent crude 

$109.07

$109.40

-0.30%

1.57%
(per barrel)











Retail gasoline

$3.4560

$3.4560

-1.85%

5.49%
(per gallon; AAA)












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



Mon.

Fri.

Month chg.

YTD chg.
Treasury yields











13-week Treasury bill

0.0900%

0.090%

-18.18%

800.00%
5-year Treasury note 

0.643%

0.639%

-10.07%

-22.53%
10-year Treasury note

1.611%

1.613%

-4.45%

-13.90%
30-year Treasury bond

2.745%

2.752%

-3.72%

-4.98%
Currencies











U.S. Dollar Index

81.106

81.098

1.40%

0.73%
British pound

1.5886

1.5911

-1.56%

2.24%
(in U.S. $)

 








U.S. $ in pounds

£0.629

£0.629

1.58%

-2.19%
Euro in dollars

$1.27

$1.27

-1.91%

-1.87%
(in U.S. $)

 








U.S. $ in euros

€ 0.787

€ 0.786

1.94%

1.90%
U.S. $ in yen 

79.62

79.44

-0.23%

3.26%
U.S. $ in Chinese

6.25

6.24

0.31%

-1.16%
yuan











Canada dollar

$1.001

$1.000

0.07%

2.03%
(in U.S. $)

 








U.S. dollar 

$1.000

$1.000

0.00%

-2.00%
(in Canadian $)

 








Commodities

 

 

 

 
Gold (-GC)

$1,730.90

$1,730.900

0.69%

10.47%
(per troy ounce)

 








Copper (-HG)

$3.468

$3.446

-1.41%

0.93%
(per pound)

 








Silver (-SI)

$32.5220

$32.599

0.64%

16.50%
(per troy ounce)

 








Wheat (-ZW)

$8.5775

$8.865

-0.78%

31.41%
(per bushel)

 








Corn (-ZC)

$7.1800

$7.388

-5.00%

11.06%
(per bushel)

 








Cotton 

$0.7088

$0.696

1.16%

-22.69%
(per pound)

 








Coffee

$1.5305

$1.499

-1.03%

-33.36%
(per pound)

 








Crude oil (-CL)

$85.57

$86.070

-0.78%

-13.42%
(per barrel)










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

-- Charley Blaine contributed to this report.
195Comments
Nov 12, 2012 9:10PM
avatar

Today was another test to see what kind of ****ou all have....

 

May the upper levels of management and all the executive board at "Houston based"  Twinkies or Hostess Corporation.....Burn in Hell...

 

A Bain Capital type...Vulture organization such as they are; Threatening the fabric of America to have it "Their way or the Highway" and America caves with them...They are Capitalist Thugs and many of you applaud their decisions...They have made it well known, that they know how to play the numbers and they will win at any cost...A hundred year (100) old Company to go down the drain with no thoughts of any compromise....I can't wait for the same agenda to show up at the door of where you work...

It will be interesting to hear the whining from many of you....

Nov 12, 2012 9:04PM
avatar
WHO do we the american people hold responsible for our demise ?


AND WHAT PRICE SHOULD THEY PAY ?


Nov 12, 2012 8:57PM
avatar
Welcome to Obama's new America, All the Conservative Patriots would like to thank you Liberals for making this possible.....yes, I and many other investors will cash in our high growth investments at 15% to avoid Odumbo's Agenda. We will get back in after he has raped the Market.....It is silly sad.
Nov 12, 2012 8:44PM
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Fiscal cliff, Fiscal cliff, Fiscal cliff.... on and on and on. I've got some real news for ya....WE ALREADY WENT OFF THE CLIFF!!!
Nov 12, 2012 8:39PM
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Funny. There was supposed to have been some kind of fiscal cliff back when the United States started closing factories and shipping tens of millions of manufacturing jobs overseas. Back then Americans were told how America would become a service economy. Funny how a country that doesn't make anything has become nothing. Funny how that whole service economy thing worked out. And now our service economy is going down the tubes. The big box operations like WalMart and Best Buy are having problems making a go of it. Even Mickey Ds has problems. Even the original big box stores like. J.C. Pennys. Sears. All going bye bye. The fiscal cliff has already come and gone. This thing Americans are looking at now is the "Welcome to the Banana Republic." And we should all be glad. Finally, an economy that cannot support a military or endless wars. With all the money gone, maybe we can finally see the end of Wall Street and get back to Main Street.  Maybe another recession so soon after the first one that didn't end will wake some people up. Maybe enough private and public pensions will go away so that the American people finally rise up against this evil. One can only hope.
Nov 12, 2012 8:27PM
avatar

Well Texas' secession petition is growing by leaps and bounds!  Over 34,000 signatures in two days when it need 25,000 in 30 for the President to make a statment.

 

"When" they secede, do you think fuel prices will skyrocket, seeing as to they have quite a few refineries and vast portions of our nations natural gas and oil fields?  Not to mention the energy they sell to CA and NV......

 

Laugh now, but when it happens it will bring this nation to its knees.

Nov 12, 2012 8:12PM
avatar

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
avatar
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
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"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
avatar

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
avatar
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
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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
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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
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What you mean to say is, stocks held back by obama.
Nov 12, 2012 6:49PM
avatar
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
avatar
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
avatar
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.....
avatar

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
avatar
Why don't you market morons go out and do something with pathetic selves!
Nov 12, 2012 5:51PM
avatar
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.

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