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Stocks Under Pressure Amid Worries About Fiscal Cliff - U.S. Commentary


After initially showing a lack of direction, stocks have moved mostly lower over the course of the trading day on Thursday. The major averages have slid firmly into negative territory, pulling back further off the intraday highs set during the previous session.

Lingering concerns about the looming fiscal cliff have contributed to the weakness on Wall Street, with recent comments from lawmakers suggesting that negotiations have not led to much progress.

The worries about the fiscal cliff have overshadowed some upbeat economic data, including a report from the Labor Department showing that weekly jobless claims pulled back near a four-year low.

Gold stocks are seeing substantial weakness in mid-afternoon trading, with the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index down by 3.2 percent. The losses by gold stocks come amid a sharp drop by the price of the precious metal.

Significant weakness has also emerged among oil service stocks, as reflected by the 1.8 percent loss being posted by the Philadelphia Oil Service Index. A decrease by the price of crude oil is contributing to the weakness in the sector.

Biotechnology, natural gas, and computer hardware stocks have also shown notable moves to the downside, moving lower along with most of the major sectors.

The major averages have moved roughly sideways in recent trading, lingering near their worst levels of the day. The Dow is down 67.31 points or 0.5 percent at 13,178.14, the Nasdaq is down 22.89 points or 0.8 percent at 2,990.92 and the S&P 500 is down 9.62 points or 0.7 percent at 1,418.86.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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