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
Jan 13, 2013 4:24PM
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It's over a month later and the fiscal cliff was averted.  Why is this article still on MSN's face page?  How about Truman defeats Dewey.  That would be slightly less timely.
Jan 8, 2013 12:19AM
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Even though it was a nothing day I still went up .01   BIG DEAL - I CAN GET A BURGER AT MICKY D'S      And yes you can blame it on the hard headed Republicans and the rest of the people you voted in - just because you did the last time and the time before     YOU FAULT
Jan 3, 2013 6:34AM
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another out of date story you are a joke.
Dec 4, 2012 8:47PM
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Obama wants to go off the cliff.  He knows he can not pay for his Socialist Utopia without taxing the middle class, aka YOU.  You say, no that is not true,  well are high confiscatory taxes in Socialist Europe restricted to the very rich?  Not by a long shot.  The European middle class is slamed by high tax rates, go see for yourself.  There is not enough money  in rich men's coffers to pay for the craddle to grave programs, certainly not after all the incentive to be or become rich have been distroyed.  Further proof?  Well Obama's plan to tax those making $200,000 (singles) or more will only raise 70 billion each year.  U.S. entitlements are driving Obama's 1.3 trillion dolllar deficit, and let us not kind anyone, Obama owns that deficit and has his name on it.  I know Obama loves to say "do teh math", obviously not his strong suit if he thinks you 70 billion tax increase is equal to his 1300 billion deficit.

 

Middle Class hold on, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Nov 14, 2012 9:16AM
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Looks like ABS is still around.  Was my fault I think.  I must have said his name  to many times and he appeared like Beatlejuice Beatlejuice Beatlejuice. 
Nov 13, 2012 10:24PM
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Alias Barry Soetoro

Such cretins - Yes, my check from the Koch brothers just cleared I'm posting now for overtime money.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, well, if it ain't ole Scary Barry the Right Wing Fairy.......

 

C'mon Barry say it again for us:

DOWN GOES FRAZIER

DOWN GOES FRAZIER

 

Where you been? buying and selling people again?

HEY! I HEAR THEY'RE HAVING A BUY ONE GET ONE FREE SALE OVER AT THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS!

 
AHHHH, HAAAAA, HAAAAAA, HAAAAAA, HAAAAAA, HAAAAAAAAA, HAAAAAAA
Nov 13, 2012 6:02PM
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Well, I see why we might not be 'winning' wars anymore....

WASHINGTON (AP) - Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has demoted the former head of U.S. Africa Command who was accused of spending thousands of dollars on lavish travel and other unauthorized expenses, a senior U.S. official said Tuesday.


Panetta stripped Gen. William "Kip" Ward of a star, which means that he will now retire as a three-star lieutenant general despite arguments from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff against the demotion. Ward also has been ordered also repay the government $82,000.

Retiring as a three-star will cost Ward about $30,000 a year in retirement pay — giving him close to $208,802 a year rather than the $236,650 he would get as a four-star.



- I would happily have voted Panetta for POTUS, but he is too smart to run.



Nov 13, 2012 5:54PM
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Yeah, yeah, yeah....thanks! That was about as much "actionable intelligence"
 as  A BS pumps out after a visit to his favorite fast food joint.  

Nov 13, 2012 5:49PM
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 Well, you all were warned this morning when we were up over 80 points....Be cautious, we saw the exact type of manipulation yesterday; we call it as we see it folks, nothing made up...We had another sucker's rally just like we did yesterday, this time scumbags called for the selloff at about 1510 hrs or so and after that, the day was over....The Obummer selloff continues apparently, we were hoping it was just a short term deal....Oh well, what else can we do but come back tomorrow and go back to work. Manipulators are in heave now and the rest of Wall Street does not trust this president; again, he didn't do a positive thing for jobs and businesses in 4 years, what makes anyone think he will now? I'm sure everyone has heard the definition of insanity....Oh well....Sad
Nov 13, 2012 5:46PM
avatar
BENDERDUNDAT

projected deficit under OBAMA $ 22,000,000,000,000.00 in 2016

ENOUGH SAID,, and that is also a FACT

that's o k,,,they are not worried about it and will not be in office when it comes time to pay the tab
Nov 13, 2012 5:33PM
avatar
With apologies to the one and only Johnny Cash

"We fell in to the Obama ring of fire
Stocks are down, down, down as the flames get higher
And we'll burn, burn, burn, and never retire
Obama's ring of fire,  Obama's ring of fire.....
And we'll burn, burn, burn, we shouldn'ta re-hired
Obama's ring of fire, Obama's ring of fire, Obama's ring of fire..."

Nov 13, 2012 5:28PM
avatar

All of you HISTORY REVISIONISTS are an entertaining, knee-slappin' HOOT!

HISTORIC FACTS:


(A) The day President Clinton was inaugurated, the DOW closed at 3,241.95;


(B) The day "Baby Boy" Bush was inaugurated, the DOW closed at 10,578.24 (Which results in a 326.3% INCREASE as a direct result of Clinton's 8 years of COMMON SENSE Liberal Democratic economic policies);

 

(C) The quarter Bush finally left office (Thank God) the DOW had plunged to 6,626.94 before Obama’s recovery policies “turned the tide”. (Which results in a CATASTROPHIC 37.4% DECREASE as a result of “Baby Boy” Bush’s 8 years of DISASTROUS Conservative Republican economic policies); and

 

(D) Yesterday (11/12/12) the DOW closed at 12,815.08 (Which results in a 93.4% INCREASE as a result of 4 years of President Obama’s Liberal Democratic economic policies in the face of ORGANIZED GOP OBSTRUCTIONISM).


Can you imagine how much higher the Market would be today if the GOP Obstructionists (think Mitch McConnell, et al. re: the FAILED ObstructionistS' strategy to "make Obama a one term President")???  THINK ABOUT IT!!


You HISTORY REVISIONISTS are most certainly allowed to have your own opinions, however, you are not allowed to have your own facts.  


All of the thought-void "GOP Rah-rah cheerleaders" are doing more to RETARD PUBLIC CONFIDENCE AND THE MARKET'S RECOVERY than any other single parameter.


Why don't you Obama-haters, sit down, SHUT-UP, accept the FACT that President Obama is a REALITY for the next 4 years AND allow the market to heal up w/o your counter-productive trash-talk.


And BTW: try a healthy dose of REALITY by stepping outside of the GOP "Echo Chamber" for a change - you might even learn to like REALITY . . . . . . . .


. . . . . . . AND THE MARKET WILL BE MUCH BETTER OFF!!!



Nov 13, 2012 4:01PM
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Well Markets going flat....Retail,gold and tobacco not bad...

REITS and Coal taking it in the shorts.

Nov 13, 2012 3:56PM
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Peeps want crazy Donald Trump fired just in time for Xmas

20 hrs ago

With holiday shopping under way, why not head down to Macy's, where you can browse neckties, sip some eggnog and ask to get Donald Trump fired? In fact, you don’t even have to go in-person. A viral "Dump Trump" petition is circulating online asking store execs to sack The Donald, citing his sexism and birther conspiracies, among other reasons. The fact that the initiative has already garnered more than 400,000 signatures seems to be further evidence the billionaire — particularly since his call for revolution — is increasingly being viewed as unpredictable. Or "completely batsh*t crazy." No word on Macy's decision, but maybe if he's fired they could let him ring the bell outside instead? He has been talking about charity donations, after all

Nov 13, 2012 3:53PM
avatar
STRIC        You see this is the problem. You understand Only what you wish,  my statement had no political implications, or insinuations.
 You said you liked me better when I spoke Vietnamese so I spoke Vietnamese. It was the only thing I can come up with on the spur of the moment instead of " bon ki te"Which would've really been nasty.
  I am not BITTER, on the contrary I'm happy Obama got elected.

how does that old expression go ?
YOU BREAK IT, YOU BOUGHT IT ! 


Nov 13, 2012 3:51PM
avatar

Pat... Think the Military...Gets a pretty good break as far as voting in the last 3 elections, especially in Florida..

I screwed up the last 2-3 days..FREE MEALS, Several Vet's Clubs(all), Churches,Applebees, Outback and others..Wrong day or wrong time....Too busy or napping?

Went into a Subway last night, for a free sandwich..Their owner was not a participant (cheap bast..)

3 Vet clubs since Saturday, one had a spread, but we were coming from B-Day party..And full..

 

It was a very nice gesture again from the businesses...And Clubs do a great job..

We thank them...(edited)

Nov 13, 2012 3:39PM
avatar
Patriot 8208
len may cua ban = UP YOURS
----------------------------------------------
I don't blame you for being bitter...
Just to know that your side LOST even after they lied, cheated, stole and used every dirty, sneeky, underhanded trick in the book.
That says a lot about this party and it also says a lot about you....
Nov 13, 2012 3:36PM
avatar

I guess the possibility exist that they could have been paid posters, similiar to the flood of partisan e-mails that float around from my bi-partisan friends (racism disguised)...

 

Probably the main reason I voted for Obabbles...Really only made my mind up, in the last couple months..And then again the Republicans had a poor misguided candidate running..(that was rich).

I could not stomach that...And then the unwarranted hatred; Again racism disguised. 

Nov 13, 2012 3:31PM
avatar
the minorities that were not allowed to vote     THE MILITARY ?
Nov 13, 2012 3:29PM
avatar
Stric

len may cua ban  =  UP YOURS
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