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Stocks sink as Congress heads for another showdown

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 3, 2013 at 9:44 am •  Published: January 3, 2013

Ross Stores led the S&P 500 with a 6 percent gain in early trading. The retailer said sales at stores open for at least a year increased 11 percent during the holiday shopping season. Ross Stores' stock was up $3.65 to $58.09.

Nordstom Inc. surged 2 percent after the department-store chain also reported strong holiday sales, especially in the South and Midwest. Nordstrom's stock was up $1.21 to $54.84.

Other retailers struggled during the holidays as shoppers held out for deep discounts.

Family Dollar Stores sank 12 percent after reporting earnings that fell short of analysts' projections. The company also forecast a weaker outlook for the current period and full year. Family Dollar's stock lost $7.25 to $56.75.

Hormel Foods, known for making Spam and other meat products, said Thursday that it's buying Skippy, the country's No. 2 peanut butter brand, for about $700 million, from Unilever. Hormel's stock jumped 5 percent, or $1.56, to $33.60.