Stocks Opened Lower on Fiscal Cliff Uncertainty

U.S. stocks opened lower on Wednesday as investors remained on edge given the lack of details on U.S. budget talks. The Dow Jones industrial average lately dropped 67.32 points, or 0.52 percent, to 12,810.81. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 9.21 points, or 0.66 percent, to 1,389.73. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 22.50 points, or 0.76 percent, to 2,945.29.

Costco Wholesale, the warehouse merchant, announced Wednesday that it will pay a special $3 billion dividend before year’s end, saving shareholders from a big bite should taxes rise due to the fiscal cliff.

The high-frequency trading firm Getco offered to buy the Knight Capital Group on Wednesday in a deal valuing the company at about $635 million, three months after Getco helped rescue Knight from the brink of bankruptcy.

European Union approves restructuring plans of Spain’s nationalised lenders but demands investors share the revamp costs, reducing the needed state aid by about €10bn, and imposing a cap on pay.

The price of oil fell below $87 a barrel Wednesday after the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development cut its growth outlook for the U.S. and the 17 European Union countries that use the euro currency. By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for January delivery was down 73 cents to $86.45 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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