Stock Opened Lower on Fiscal Cliff, Greece

U.S. stocks began lower on Monday as U.S. lawmakers readied to take up the so-called fiscal cliff and as euro-zone finance ministers met on further aid for Greece. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately lost 65.81 points, or 0.51%, to 12,943.87. The S&P 500 index retreated 6.58 points, or 0.47%, to 1,402.57. The Nasdaq Composite fell 1.30 points, or 0.04%, to 2,965.55.

Finance ministers from euro-zone governments were discussing Greece’s broken bailout program Monday, hoping to convince the country’s other big creditor–the International Monetary Fund–that they are doing enough to bring Athens’ debt load to a more manageable level

US shoppers went to town over the Thanksgiving weekend, with retail spending up sharply on last year, a survey suggests.A record 247 million people visited stores and websites between Thursday and Sunday and spent a total of $59.1bn (£36.9bn), 13% more than last year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said. The average shopper spent $423 over the weekend, up from $398 last year.

ConocoPhillips is selling a minority interest in drilling sites off the coast of Kazakhstan for about $5 billion as it continues to downsize. The buyer of ConocoPhillips’ 8.4 percent stake, part of a production sharing agreement in the Caspian Sea, is India’s ONGC Videsh Ltd.

Britain’s financial regulator has fined UBS AG for failures which allowed a rogue trader to lose $2.3 billion in the country’s biggest-ever fraud case at a bank. The Financial Services Authority said Monday that it was fining the Swiss-based bank 29.7 million pounds ($47.6 million) after finding serious weaknesses in procedures, management systems and internal controls in the London branch of UBS.

Qatar has cashed in its remaining warrants in Britain’s Barclays Plc (BARC.L), a move that should yield a $280 million profit and still leaves the sovereign wealth fund as the bank’s top shareholder following a controversial fundraising in 2008.

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