Stocks started Near Unchanged as Consumer Spending Fell

U.S. stocks began little changed on Friday after data had consumer spending down in October and as lawmakers continued to wrangle on the budget. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lastely rose 10.18 points to 13,032.00. The S&P 500 was down 0.48 point at 1,415.47. The Nasdaq Composite fell 3.42 points to 3,008.61.

Americans cut back on spending last month and saw no growth in their income, partly reflecting disruptions from Superstorm Sandy that could drag on economic growth in the final months of the year. The Commerce Department said Friday that consumer spending dropped 0.2 percent in October. That’s down from an increase of 0.8 percent in September and the weakest showing since May. Income was flat in the month following a 0.4 percent rise in September.

ABC’s Jonathan Karl reported on “Good Morning America” that the fiscal cliff negotiations took a turn for the worse yesterday after Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s meeting with Congressional Republicans. Aides to Speaker Boehner say that the White House’s offer was completely unrealistic. The key elements of the deal, Karl reports, are $1.6 trillion in tax increases over the next 10 years, $50 billion in additional stimulus spending, $400 billion in unspecified Medicare cuts over the next 10 years, and effectively ending Congress’s ability to vote on the debt limit.

German lawmakers approved the latest bailout for Greece on Friday by a large majority despite growing unease about the cost to taxpayers less than a year before federal elections.

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