* Apple weighs on Nasdaq, stock down more than 2 pct
* 'Fiscal cliff' still preoccupies investors
* Consumer prices drop in Nov; manufacturing picks up in Dec
* S&P down 0.2 pct, Dow up 0.1 pct, Nasdaq down 0.4 pct
By Leah Schnurr
NEW YORK, Dec 14 U.S. stocks were little changed
on Friday, with the Nasdaq weighed by a 3-percent drop in shares
of tech giant Apple, amid investor worries about a lack of
progress by politicians in ongoing fiscal negotiations.
Apple was down 2.8 percent at $515.11 as UBS cut
its price target to $700 from $780. The stock has tumbled in
recent months for a variety of reasons, including investors
locking in profits ahead of scheduled capital-gains increases
for next year.
President Barack Obama and House of Representatives Speaker
John Boehner held a "frank" meeting Thursday to try to break an
impasse in negotiations over the "fiscal cliff," tax hikes and
spending cuts set to kick in early in 2013.
"The uncertainty that (the fiscal talks) is creating is
basically holding the markets hostage in the short term," said
Andres Garcia-Amaya, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan
Funds, in New York.
Frustration has mounted over the lack of progress in the
discussions, with market participants' worries reflected in a
0.6 percent drop in the S&P 500 on Thursday. Investors are
concerned that going over the cliff could tip the economy back
into recession. While a deal is expected to ultimately be
reached, a drawn-out debate - like the one seen over 2011's debt
ceiling - can erode confidence.
Still, expectations of an eventual agreement have helped the
S&P 500 bounce back over the last month, and on Wednesday, the
index hit its highest intraday level since late October. For the
year, the S&P has advanced more than 12 percent.
"For the end of this year, I wouldn't expect a lot of big
decisions by investors," Garcia-Amaya said. "It's been a fairly
good year for equities and for that reason a lot of people don't
want to be a hero going into the end of the year."
The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 11.05
points, or 0.08 percent, at 13,181.77. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index slipped 2.49 points, or 0.18 percent, to 1,416.96.
The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 12.62 points, or 0.42
percent, to 2,979.54.
Best Buy Co Inc slid more than 15 percent to $11.90
after it agreed to extend the deadline for the company's founder
to make bid.
Consumer prices fell in November for the first time in six
months, indicating U.S. inflation pressures were muted. A
separate report showed manufacturing grew at its swiftest pace
in eight months in December.
Meanwhile, data out of China was encouraging for its key
trading partners, including the U.S., and for the prospects for
global growth. It showed manufacturing in the world's
second-largest economy grew at its fastest pace in 14 months in