* Wall Street hit by fiscal cliff concerns, shares of Apple
* Spain bond sale disappoints, euro falls after hitting
* U.S. data shows private sector hiring hit by storm
By Leah Schnurr
NEW YORK, Dec 5 Wall Street stocks fell on
Wednesday after Republican leaders said talks with U.S.
President Barack Obama to resolve the "fiscal cliff" are
deadlocked, while the euro slipped after a disappointing Spanish
U.S. stocks had gotten off to a mixed start but selling
picked up in the late morning. The Nasdaq fared worse than the
other indexes, weighed by a 4 percent drop in shares of tech
"Nothing is going on" in the talks, U.S. House Majority
Leader Eric Cantor told reporters following a meeting with
fellow Republicans. "We ask the president to sit down with us."
Investors are worried that the so-called fiscal cliff of tax
hikes and spending reductions that will start to go into effect
at the beginning of next year could send the economy back into
recession if politicians don't come to an agreement to avoid it.
Obama stuck to his case on Tuesday for raising taxes for
The euro had surged to a seven-week high against the
dollar in early trading but went into reverse, falling to
$1.3064 as markets digested the disappointing Spanish bond sale.
Bond markets also reacted poorly to the auction, with
Spanish 10-year yields rising to 5.42 percent after demand for
the sale was below expectations.
Euro zone experts still expect Madrid to request a sovereign
bailout which would pave the way for the European Central Bank
to buy its debt but doubts have started to creep in again
following a drop in tensions and yields in recent weeks.
"Spanish yields are trading at quite tight levels so
investors may be starting to get scared about whether the
current level can be sustained in the near term," said
Alessandro Giansanti, a rate strategist at ING in Amsterdam.
"This level of yields is implying that the Spanish
government will ask for support in the next few months and if it
doesn't happen it's quite likely that yields will start to move
The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 14.90
points, or 0.12 percent, to 12,936.88. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index lost 6.88 points, or 0.49 percent, to 1,400.17. The
Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 33.85 points, or 1.13
percent, to 2,962.84.
Apple was the biggest drag on the Nasdaq, tumbling
about 4 percent to $551.64.
Investors were also taking in data that showed November U.S.
private sector hiring was hit by the impact of superstorm Sandy,
though activity in the service sector continued to expand.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index was off 0.09 percent and
the MSCI index of world stocks edged down 0.03
A mixed batch of business and retail data showed euro zone
shoppers cut back on spending by the biggest margin in six
months in October, while purchasing manager figures pointed to
another quarter of recession.
"The economic data pretty much confirmed the (euro zone)
economy is still in a very weak state," said Rabobank economist
Elwin de Groot.
Wednesday's other main economic event in Europe came in
Britain, where finance minister George Osborne gave a bleak
outlook, warning that growth will be weaker than expected and
that he will have to break a key debt promise.
Britain's economy was now forecast to grow by only 1.2
percent in 2013, well down from the 2 percent predicted in