Stocks Retreat on Cliff, Retailers Weigh

U.S. stocks finished mostly lower on Monday, as retailers fell on concerns about heavy discounts at the start of the U.S. holiday shopping season and the overhang of the “fiscal cliff” kept investors wary of making big bets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 42.31 points, or 0.33%, to end at 12,967.37. The S&P 500 index dropping 2.86 points, or 0.20%, to 1,406.29. The Nasdaq Composite index rose 9.93 points, or 0.33%, to end at 2,976.78.

Lehman Brothers Holding Inc has agreed to sell apartment owner Archstone to rivals Equity Residential (NYSE:EQR – News) and AvlanonBay Communities Inc (NYSE:AVB – News) for $6.5 billion in cash and stock, Lehman said on Monday.

U.S. regulators on Monday sued Intrade, the online prediction market that gained popularity as an informal oddsmaker for the presidential election, saying it illegally let customers bet on future economic data, the price of gold and even acts of war.

Oil futures settled lower Monday. Crude for January delivery shed 54 cents, or 0.6%, to settle at $87.74 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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