Stocks slide on 'fiscal cliff' warning

Associated Press Modified: November 27, 2012 at 4:00 pm •  Published: November 27, 2012
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"The glass is half-empty right now," Landesman said.

The S&P rose as high as 1,465 in September, the highest in almost five years, after the Federal Reserve said it would extend its so-called quantitative easing program and buy more bonds. The program is intended to lower borrowing costs and stimulate hiring.

Two reports that suggested that the outlook for the U.S. economy may be improving failed to encourage investors to push stocks higher.

Consumer confidence rose this month to the highest level in almost five years, pushed up by steady improvement in hiring. The Conference Board's consumer confidence index rose to 73.7 in November from 73.1 in October. Both are the best readings since February 2008.

The government reported separately that U.S. companies increased their orders of machinery and equipment last month, a sign that business investment is rising. Orders rose 1.7 percent in October, the best showing since a 2.3 percent rise in May.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note edged down to 1.65 percent.

Among other stocks making big moves:

—ConAgra advanced $1.34, or 4.7 percent, to $29.63 after it agreed to buy Ralcorp for $5 billion in a deal that will make it the nation's biggest maker of private-label foods. Ralcorp surged $18.57, or 26.4 percent, to $88.80.

—Corning Inc., a specialty glass maker, rose 78 cents, or 6.9 percent, to $12.13 after it said that North American television sales are stronger than expected in the fourth quarter, boosting demand for its products.

— Las Vegas Sands Corp. rose $2.33, or 5.3 percent, to $46.36 after the casino operator said it would pay a special dividend of $2.75 per share, distributing about $2.26 billion to shareholders before the end of the year.

—Monster Beverage Corp. soared $6.69, or 13.3 percent, to $51.97 as concerns eased about increased regulation for the energy drink maker following a letter to senators, made public Tuesday, from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.