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US stocks close lower as 'fiscal cliff' looms

Published on Dec 20, 2012 6:07 AM

NEW YORK (AFP) - United States stocks skidded lower on Wednesday as market sentiment soured less than two weeks before the United States risks going over the "fiscal cliff." The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the session down 98.99 points (0.74 per cent) to 13,251.97.

The broad-market S&P 500 dropped 10.98 points (0.76 per cent) to end at 1,435.81, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite lost 10.17 points (0.33 per cent) to 3,044.36.

"Stocks fell under the weight of continued disagreement on resolution to the fiscal cliff," said analysts with Charles Schwab & Co.

Washington has until the end of the month to reach a deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff, a series of tax hikes and spending cuts that are due to take effect in January and could plunge the world's biggest economy into recession.

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