* Apple down 4 pct, weighs on Nasdaq
* 'Fiscal cliff' negotiations keep buying muted
* Consumer prices drop in Nov; manufacturing picks up in Dec
* Dow off 0.2 pct, S&P 500 off 0.3 pct, Nasdaq down 0.5 pct
By Gabriel Debenedetti
NEW YORK, Dec 14 U.S. stocks fell on Friday,
with the Nasdaq weighed down by another drop in shares of Apple,
and as the overhang of "fiscal cliff" negotiations kept buying
to a premium.
Apple slid 4 percent to $508.75 after UBS cut its
price target on the stock to $700 from $780. The most valuable
U.S. company has seen its stock hit hard in the last three
months, and it fell on Friday after a tepid reception for iPhone
5 in China.
The S&P Information Technology Index dropped 0.9
percent as Apple fell and Jabil Circuit Inc lost 6.2
percent to $17.38 after UBS cut its price target.
The possibility of a "fiscal cliff" deal not taking place
until early 2013 is rising. The back-and-forth negotiations over
the fiscal cliff in Washington have kept markets on hold in what
would already be a quiet period for stocks.
"We're faced with uncertainty ... and that's going to
continue now into January. It basically puts everybody on hold,
and (you) just have the markets kind of thrash around," said
Larry Abruzzi, senior equity trader at Cabrera Capital Markets
Inc in Boston.
President Barack Obama and House of Representatives Speaker
John Boehner held a "frank" meeting on Thursday at the White
House to discuss how to avoid the tax hikes and spending cuts
set to kick in early in 2013.
The S&P 500 dropped 0.6 percent on Thursday after six
straight positive sessions. 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
"The markets are not being reactionary right now, though we
lost ground yesterday," said Stephen Carl, head equity trader at
the Williams Capital Group in New York.
"It doesn't look like anything has been resolved, or is
leaning one way or another."
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.
The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 24.09
points, or 0.18 percent, to 13,146.63. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index lost 4.81 points, or 0.34 percent, to 1,414.64. The
Nasdaq Composite Index fell 15.50 points, or 0.52
percent, to 2,976.66.
Best Buy Co Inc slid 15.5 percent to $11.93 after
the electronics retailer agreed to extend the deadline for the
company's founder to make a bid. Shares jumped as much as 19
percent on Thursday after initial reports of a bid this week
from founder Richard Schulze.
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.
Data out of China was encouraging, as Chinese manufacturing
grew at its fastest pace in 14 months in December. The news was
seen as helping U.S. materials companies, including U.S. Steel
, which rose 6.3 percent to $23.73.