U.S. stocks fall amid fiscal cliff fears
NEW YORK — US stocks fell Tuesday as fiscal cliff worries overshadowed encouraging US economic data and investors shrugged off Greece’s revised bailout deal.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 89.24 points (0.69 percent) at 12,878.13.
The broad-market S&P 500 lost 7.35 (0.52 percent) at 1,398.94, while the Nasdaq Composite slid 8.99 (0.30 percent) to 2,967.79.
Investors remained focused on Washington where Democratic Senator Harry Reid said little progress had been made in budget negotiations, Briefing.com analysts said.
“After the Senate majority leader’s comments, the S&P 500 fell to session lows from its flat line,” and declined further in a final round of selling pressure.
European markets closed higher after the Greek deal, which allows Athens to trim its debt load through bond buybacks and reduced rates, and promises new rescue loan installments of 43.7 billion euros ($57 billion) through March.
But critics said Greece’s creditors, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, had again “kicked the can down the road” with the new arrangement.
“We think that Greece will eventually need a much larger debt relief, but any agreement on this is unlikely to happen before German elections next fall,” said Tullia Bucco of UniCredit Research.
Trade was heavy in food manufacturer Ralcorp Holdings, which surged 26.4 percent after ConAgra Foods set a deal to buy it for $6.8 billion, including assuming Ralcorp debt. ConAgra gained 4.7 percent.
The Dow’s biggest laggards were Hewlett-Packard, down 3.1 percent, American Express, off almost two percent and United Health, 1.6 percent.
Intel led the nine gainers, up 0.6 percent.
Casino operator Las Vegas Sands jumped 5.2 percent after it announced a special dividend to be paid before year-end, aiming to avoid higher dividend taxes that will likely result from deficit-slashing negotiations under way in Washington.
On the Nasdaq, Research in Motion, the BlackBerry maker, dived 10.4 percent despite an upgrade from CIBC World Markets.
Apple shares fell 0.8 percent after Monday’s 3.2 percent gain.
Bond prices rose slightly. The 10-year US Treasury yield dropped to 1.65 percent from 1.66 percent Monday, and the 30-year fell to 2.79 percent from 2.80 percent.
Bond prices and yields move inversely.