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.
174Comments
Nov 13, 2012 3:27PM
avatar

Yup all those CAPS are agonizing...I inadvertently do it occassionally, because I have been looking or checking STOCKS...

But you may be correct about Nads in Drag....Wording and diction seem's a little off...??

 

I dunno, seems  that girlfriend, was worth plowing a furrow....Expensive crop..?

Nov 13, 2012 3:23PM
avatar
You know.... I think I liked him better when he was only posting in Vietnamese....
Nov 13, 2012 3:17PM
avatar

The hell with the Ballots..I would like to see the list of Minorities that were NOT ALLOWED TO VOTE.

BTW..I didn't give you any thumbs, but I'm sceeered...Might have been a finger...m!m. yuk,yuk.

Nov 13, 2012 3:10PM
avatar

Yup our buddies; ABS, Jeffy, JK or JR and Buttercup...Seem to be MIA for the most part...??

ISPs were probably taken down..?

We still have Patriot, Comrads and now Brutus is getting a little testy...?

Obambi must have spoke again, because DOW ran back close to 50 momentarily...??

 

Yeah, I heard it was school buses from Republican Strongholds, that hauled supporters away from Robme's gathering in Boston...After he gave "the Sorry Speech" he and Annie jetted back to California to "one of the many places" they call home...That was your "first hint" America..

Man were you people ever taken in...

Nov 13, 2012 2:58PM
avatar
THREE THUMBS DOWN  on the viewing of the BALLOTS

there is a NERVE that is tender  !           AFRAID OF SOMETHING ?
Nov 13, 2012 2:50PM
avatar
I would like to SEE  the BALLOTS  in PA  and OHIO
Nov 13, 2012 2:49PM
avatar
Too many Thomson Reuters and Associated Press articles that are not truthful. Why would you post major manipulation and false speculation unless YOU WERE SCARED?

The false economy isn't going to hurt most Americans. What happens when you need medical help and you are penniless? You offer an apple because likely the medical help is hungry. What the Hell is the matter with you MEDIA TYPES? When the world stops, YOU are stuck in a giant cement grave yard where the preprocessed food runs out first and the walk requires YOU making it through every gang territory in existence. How about WAKING UP and reinforcing those who are punching holes in paper and jamming button presser thumbs with FACTS.

Nov 13, 2012 2:44PM
avatar

Nads....What is Petraeus and where is Benghazi?....Ooops gave myself away.

 

You might be right..Saw a big plume of smoke rising in the East;  Maybe they are,fracking ??

Nov 13, 2012 2:38PM
avatar

@-Sick....Has there been any demands for Recounts in Florida yet??

I just can't wait...

Nov 13, 2012 2:38PM
avatar
Hope Jeff and ABS's paychecks weren't based on election results.  Look how few posts there are now LOL.
Nov 13, 2012 2:37PM
avatar
Write on Stric!  Hey, I still enjoy the one about how to tell if a govt employee is still alive...You wave his pay warrant under his nose.  That one's about a million years old, but I still dig it.  After all...........
It always worked for me - LOL.

Hey, have a great day my brethren.  Got to hit the road for a bit.

YO TOG and PATS....aint it grand how the retail sector 'appreciates' Veterans...by making Veterans Day into Veterans Week!   (thank you, Target and Macys...) 

Nov 13, 2012 2:33PM
avatar

Was in the 70s here a couple days ago....My how that has changed by 40 degees..

What's the opposite of "global warming"?.....Sweet Geesuz.

Nov 13, 2012 2:29PM
avatar

Brutus....Don't expect to see any solid trends for a few days/weeks yet...?

Sure Obama and Beanhead will be doing a lot of Posturing...

 

BUT KEEP TRYING ANYWAY........

Nov 13, 2012 2:26PM
avatar
CGT1
He is a socialist, a marxist, the market already showed its displeasure last week
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
C'mon CGT1 you gotta segway into these comments with a joke first... ya know loosen the crowd up a bit and all.
 
Q: How do you starve a black man to death?
Ans: Hide his welfare check in his work boots.
Nov 13, 2012 2:26PM
avatar

GERRYMANDERING.....A leftover from ancient politics, named after a Vice-Prez; That actually signed the Declaration of Ind.(Elbridge Gerry) 5th. VP..had to look up name.(Democratic Republican,Mass)

Has been rearing it's little snakehead for for a few years now.....Always seems more prominent in States under Republican Control...But may be done equally by both parties...??

It changes the Electorate landscape overnight.

Very noticeable in Texas in a few past elections. 

Nov 13, 2012 2:24PM
avatar
109% of VOTERS TURN OUT      ( ? )
Nov 13, 2012 1:56PM
avatar
havasu

the same way Obama  got 97-100% of the vote in 57+ districts in PA
la dee da
Nov 13, 2012 1:49PM
avatar
Stocks were doing pretty well until about 11AM.  What happened?  Did Obama hold another press conference or something?
Nov 13, 2012 1:48PM
avatar

"This is interesting. How could the Republicans have won 55 percent of the House seats at the same time that Mitt Romney received only 48 percent of the popular vote?"

 

The Congressional districts for the House of Representatives are gerrymandered. Definition:  try to get extra votes unfairly: to manipulate an electoral area, usually by altering its boundaries, in order to gain an unfair political advantage in an election. This allows both parties to draw districts that favor each party's goals. The Senate is far more representative of Americans voting majority than the House.

Nov 13, 2012 1:42PM
avatar
"Once you get out and the fluid clears from your lungs and you can actually experience the outdoors without sweating in the first three steps you'll have a sense of what living really is.  It doesn't have to be miserable.  It can actually be.. enjoyable."

It's 74 degrees, clear, and no humidity here today.

How about where you are?
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[BRIEFING.COM] The headlines generally favored Tuesday being another good day for the stock market.  Instead, it was just a mixed day with modest point changes on either side of the unchanged mark for the major indices.

For the most part, the stock market was a sideshow.  The main trading events were seen in the commodity and Treasury markets, both of which saw some decent-sized losses within their respective complex.

Dollar strength was at the heart of the weakness in ... More


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