Stocks slumped on Wall Street Wednesday amid
reports of a slower holiday shopping season and worries about
political gridlock in talks to avert austerity measures in
Sales over the US holiday season rose 0.7 per cent from late October to Christmas, down from a 2 per cent increase over the same period a year ago, according to MasterCard Advisors Spending Pulse.
Meanwhile President Barack Obama and lawmakers were due to return to Washington Thursday to resume negotiations to avert a so-called fiscal cliff of spending cuts and austerity measures after talks seemed to have stalled last week.
The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 24.49 points, or 0.19 per cent, to 13,114.6. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 6.83 points, or 0.48 per cent, to 1,419.83. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index slid 22.44 points, or 0.74 per cent, to 2,990.16.
Markets had been closed Tuesday for the Christmas holiday after a shortened trading day on Christmas Eve.
The US currency stood at 75.6 euro cents and 85.51 yen.
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