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Dow Jones rudderless as fiscal cliff talks deadlocked

Proactive Investors
Tuesday, 4 December 2012

U.S. stocks closed off their lows off the day, while investors grow increasing concerned about the impending fiscal cliff ramifications across financial markets.

Trade remained in a narrow band with few leads due to no major economic news being released, and by the close the Dow Jones had eased 14 points to 12,951, while the NASDAQ was six points lower at 2997.

President Obama outlined a proposal last week that called for $1.6 trillion in new taxes, among other things. Republicans issued a counter-proposal Monday that included tax reforms, changes to Medicare and other spending cuts worth $2.2 trillion over the next decade.
That plan was quickly dismissed by the White House, and the apparent deadlock is setting the tone for markets.*U.S. Corporate News*

In corporate news, closeout retailer Big Lots (NYSE:BIG) swung to a fiscal third-quarter loss as margins shrank amid a steeper-than-expected decline in sales. Still, the company beat estimates as it reported a smaller than anticipated loss.
For the quarter ended October 27, Big Lots reported a loss of $5.99 million, or 10 cents per share, compared with a profit of $4.19 million, or six cents a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected a loss of 24 cents.
After the closing bell, Internet radio company Pandora Media (NYSE:P) is due to post third-quarter earnings, with analysts expecting Pandora to earn one cent per share on $117 million in revenue, according to FactSet.
Luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL) Tuesday said both its profit and revenues rose sharply in its fiscal fourth quarter, as a rise in consumer confidence spurred buyers to return to the housing market.
Home deliveries rose 44 per cent in units, while net signed contracts rose 70 per cent to 1,098 units. Backlog climbed 70 per cent to $1.67 billion and 2,569 units, while Toll Brothers' cancellation rate was 4.6 per cent, way down from 7.9 per cent a year earlier.
Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) saw shares tumble after the owner of Red Lobster and Olive Garden lowered its outlook for the year.
Drug and medical device maker Baxter International (NYSE:BAX) said Tuesday it plans to buy privately-held Swedish company Gambro for about $2.76 billion to broaden its dialysis product portfolio.
Baxter will pay for the deal with a combination of debt and cash. It expects the acquisition to close in the first half of next year. In total, the deal is worth about $4 billion, including debt.
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