* Apple falls, 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 0.6 pct
NEW YORK, Dec 14 U.S. stocks fell on Friday, led
by losses in the Nasdaq after another drop in shares of Apple,
and as the overhang of "fiscal cliff" negotiations kept buyers
on the sidelines.
Apple slid 4.2 percent to $507.21 after UBS cut its
price target on the stock to $700 from $780. The stock of the
most valuable U.S. company has been hit hard in the last three
months. On Friday, Apple's stock fell after a tepid reception
for the iPhone 5 in China.
The S&P Information Technology Index lost 0.9
percent as Apple fell and Jabil Circuit Inc shed 5
percent to $17.61 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 Peruzzi, senior equity trader at Cabrera Capital Markets
Inc in Boston.
President Barack Obama and U.S. 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 Dow Jones industrial average shed 19.68 points,
or 0.15 percent, to 13,151/04. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
slipped 3.79 points, or 0.27 percent, to 1,415.66. The
Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 19.24 points, or 0.64
percent, to 2,972.97.
American Express Co shares fell 1.5 percent to
$56.83 and ranked as the heaviest weight on the Dow.
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
Still, expectations of an eventual agreement have helped the
S&P 500 bounce back over the last month. On Wednesday, the index
hit its highest intraday level since late October. For the year,
the S&P has climbed 12.6 percent.
"It's quieter than it has been recently. I think it's the
Friday before the holiday week and people are starting to go
away, and absent some big news out of Washington, I think things
will be quieter," said Jeff Meyerson, head of trading for
Sunrise Securities in New York.
Best Buy Co Inc slid 14 percent to $12.13 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 percent to $23.66.