* Obama, Boehner offer no quick fixes on taxes and budget
* U.S. Oct consumer spending drops as income growth stalls
* Zynga shares plunge after revising deal with Facebook
* Whole Foods announces special dividend
* Dow down 0.1 pct, S&P 500 off 0.2 pct, Nasdaq off 0.2 pct
By Edward Krudy
NEW YORK, Nov 30 U.S. stocks dipped on Friday
as President Barack Obama and top Republicans remained at odds
about how to avert a series of tax hikes and spending cuts next
year that could push the economy into recession.
Trading has been choppy as investors react to a barrage of
mixed statements from policymakers on the state of discussions
about how to avoid going over the "fiscal cliff."
Obama accused a "handful of Republicans" in the U.S. House
of Representatives of holding up legislation to extend tax cuts
for middle-class Americans in order to try to preserve them for
Speaking shortly after the president, House Speaker John
Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, said: "There is a
stalemate; let's not kid ourselves."
The market, however, has remained resilient, with the
benchmark S&P 500 set to finish the month almost flat as many
investors are betting that a deal will be struck - if only at
the zero hour.
"There is no sign of it from the rhetoric, but there are
expectations it will happen," said Steve Goldman, principal at
Goldman Management in Short Hills, New Jersey. "The rhetoric
will get worse before it gets better."
Corporations still anticipate a harsher tax regime next
year. Whole Foods Market Inc was the latest to announce
a special cash dividend of $2.00 per share to skirt higher
dividend tax rates in 2013. The stock was up 0.5 percent at
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 14.56
points, or 0.11 percent, to 13,007.26. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index fell 2.17 points, or 0.15 percent, to 1,413.78. The
Nasdaq Composite Index lost 6.66 points, or 0.22
percent, to 3,005.37.
The S&P 500 was on track to end the month up about 0.1 pct,
or nearly flat, after declining almost 2 percent in October. The
index has recovered 4.5 percent since shedding 8 percent
following the U.S. presidential election earlier in November.
"The correction from the S&P 500's September peak has
allowed overbought momentum and optimistic sentiment conditions
to recede, and we believe the index is closer to an
intermediate-term buy signal than a sell signal," said Ari Wald,
an analyst at PrinceRidge Group.
Yum Brands Inc shares slid 9.2 percent to $67.59.
The company said late Thursday it expects a drop in
fourth-quarter sales at established restaurants in China, where
a cooling economy is making it difficult to exceed the 21
percent gain it enjoyed there a year earlier.
After a close relationship for several years, Facebook Inc
and Zynga Inc revised terms of a partnership
agreement, according to regulatory filings on Thursday. Under
the new pact, Zynga, creator of the "Farmville" game, will have
limited ability to promote its site on Facebook.
Zynga's stock dropped 6.5 percent to $2.45. Facebook's stock
slipped 0.2 percent to $27.26.
The markets' reaction to data on Friday was muted.
Data from the Institute for Supply Management-Chicago showed
that business activity in the U.S. Midwest expanded for the
first time since August, buoyed by an improvement in the labor
But Commerce Department data showed U.S. consumer spending
fell in October for the first time in five months as income
growth stalled, suggesting slower economic growth in the fourth
Apple Inc's latest iPhone has received final
clearance from Chinese regulators, paving the way for a December
debut in a highly competitive market where the lack of a new
model had severely eroded its share of product sales. Apple's
stock fell 0.8 percent to $584.57.
Verisign Inc said the U.S. Department of Commerce
had approved its agreement with ICANN to run the .com internet
registry, but the company wouldn't be able to raise prices as
before. The stock dropped 14 percent to $33.84.