“U.S. stocks fell for a second day as concern about budget negotiations in Washington overshadowed an agreement by European finance ministers on aid for Greece and a better-than-forecast report on consumer confidence,” Inyoung Hwang reports for Bloomberg. “The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 0.2 percent to 1,404.03 at 11:23 a.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 33.63 points, or 0.3 percent, to 12,933.74. Trading in S&P 500 companies was 11 percent below the 30-day average at this time of day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.”

“The benchmark index for U.S. equities lost 0.2 percent yesterday as lawmakers prepared to debate the so-called fiscal cliff. The S&P 500 has slipped 1.8 percent since Nov. 6 as President Barack Obama’s re-election set up a showdown with the Republican-controlled House of Representatives over the budget. Congress returns from the Thanksgiving recess this week, seeking a budget deal to avoid $607 billion of automatic tax increases and spending cuts from kicking in next year,” Hwang reports. “While Republicans favor raising federal tax revenue by limiting deductions, Democrats have pushed for higher rates on upper-income earners. The Congressional Budget Office has said a failure to avoid the fiscal cliff could lead to a recession and a jobless rate of about 9 percent, compared with the October rate of 7.9 percent.”

“Technology hardware companies posted the biggest loss out of 24 groups in the S&P 500, falling 0.6 percent. Hewlett- Packard lost 1.7 percent, the most in the Dow, to $12.52. Seagate Technology Plc retreated 3.9 percent to $26.28,” Hwang reports. “Corning jumped 7.6 percent to $12.21. The world’s largest maker of glass for flat-panel televisions boosted its outlook for the LCD glass supply chain in the third quarter, citing stronger-than-anticipated retail demand for televisions and other consumer electronic devices in North America and China.”

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