Stocks Ended Lower on Fiscal Cliff

U.S. stocks finished lower on Tuesday after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said little progress has been made in talks aimed at averting the so-called fiscal cliff. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 89.24 points, or 0.69%, to end at 12,878.13. The S&P 500 index slipped 7.35 points, or 0.52%, to finish at 1,398.94. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 8.99 points, or 0.30%, to end at 2,967.79.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said there was “little progress” made on reaching a year-end deal to avert the cliff and said that it would be foolish to hatch a fiscal-cliff deal that didn’t also raise the U.S. debt ceiling.

Consumer confidence rose to a four-and-a-half-year high in November as consumers became more optimistic about the outlook for the economy, according to a private sector report released on Tuesday. The Conference Board said its index of consumer attitudes rose to 73.7 up from an upwardly revised 73.1 the month before, its highest since February 2008.

Home prices posted the biggest percentage gain in more than two years in the third quarter, according to the closely followed S&P/Case-Shiller index. The 3.6% increase from a year earlier is more than three times the rise in the previous quarter and was the biggest jump in prices since the second quarter of 2010.

Consumers logged on eagerly for Cyber Monday deals, spending almost $2 billion and setting a record. Shoppers are increasingly turning to their phones and tablets to do their shopping, and Apple is poised to benefit.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ:GMCR) late Tuesday said fiscal fourth-quarter net earnings were $91.9 million, or 58 cents a share, compared with $75.4 million, or 47 cents a share, a year ago. Sales at the company, known for its Keurig line of single-cup brewers, climbed 33% to $946.7 million from $711.9 million a year earlier.

Crude-oil futures settled lower Tuesday. Oil for January delivery (NMN:CLF3)  fell 56 cents, or0.6%, to settle at $87.18 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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