* Boehner comments prompt selling
* Best Buy surges on report of possible buy offer
* Initial jobless claims fell sharply last week, retail
* Dow off 0.7 pct, S&P 500 off 0.8 pct, Nasdaq off 0.9 pct
NEW YORK, Dec 13 U.S. stocks slid after the
S&P's six days of gains on Thursday as uncertainty about
Washington's "fiscal cliff" negotiations offset encouraging data
on retail sales and jobless claims.
Energy and information technology sectors were the S&P 500's
weakest performers, with the S&P energy index down 0.9
Drawn-out fiscal negotiations between Democrats and
Republicans have constrained trading. There is concern that tax
hikes and spending cuts, set to begin in 2013 if a deal is not
reached in Washington, will hurt growth. The stock market
overall, though, has taken it in stride.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday accused
President Barack Obama of "slow walking" the economy off the
"There is no conviction here and Boehner's comments - as
harsh as they were - were realistic," said Jason Weisberg,
managing director at Seaport Securities Corp., in New York.
"The fiscal cliff is already built in. That being said,
people don't like to be told the apocalypse is coming over and
over and over again. The real players in this market have
already closed their books."
The S&P 500 had ended higher for six straight sessions
through Wednesday's close, when it touched its highest level
since Oct. 22.
Apple's stock, down 2 percent at $527.69, was among
the biggest drags on the Nasdaq in Thursday's session, while
International Business Machines, down 0.6 percent at
$192.95, was the biggest weight on the Dow.
The Dow Jones industrial average slid 92.50 points,
or 0.70 percent, to 13,152.95. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
dropped 11.09 points, or 0.78 percent, to 1,417.39. The
Nasdaq Composite Index fell 25.47 points, or 0.85
percent, to 2,988.34.
The latest data sent some positive signals on the economy,
with weekly claims for jobless benefits dropping to nearly the
lowest level since February 2008 and retail sales rising in
November after an October decline, improving the picture for
A day after the Federal Reserve announced a new round of
stimulus for the economy, markets focused on Chairman Ben
Bernanke's reiteration that monetary policy would not be
sufficient to offset the impact of going over the fiscal cliff.
In the energy sector, shares of Nabors Industries Ltd
dropped 4.6 percent to $13.86 after Jefferies cut the
drilling company's stock to "underperform" from "hold," and
shares of U.S. refining company Phillips 66 lost 2.5
percent to $51.74.
European Union finance ministers reached agreement to make
the European Central Bank the bloc's top banking supervisor,
which could boost confidence in EU leaders' ability to confront
the euro zone's sovereign debt crisis.
Best Buy Co shares shot up 15.3 percent to $14.04
after a report that the company's founder is expected to offer
to buy the consumer electronics retailer by the end of the week.
The shares hit an intraday high at $14.48 - up 18.8 percent.
CVS Caremark Corp shares gained 2 percent to $48.49
after saying it expects higher earnings in 2013.