• Debt Ceiling Concerns Push U.S. Markets Lower


    NEW YORK, Jan 15, 2013 (AFP) – US equity markets were notably lower Tuesday morning amid renewed concerns about the acrimonious Washington debate on fiscal issues.

    At 1506 GMT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 13,474.53, down 32.79 (0.24 percent).

    The broad-based S&P 500 slid 5.06 (0.34 percent) to 1,465.62. The Nasdaq Composite fell 20.91 (0.67 percent) to 3,096.5963.

    The retreat came as the market cast its eye anew at Washington, where President Obama and congressional Republicans are sparring over whether to raise the debt ceiling.

    President Obama criticized congressional Republicans Monday during a news conference.

    Fitch ratings agency warned Tuesday that it might cut the US’ top “AAA” rating if Washington power brokers fail to reach an accord on the debt ceiling.

    Analysts noted that the decline in equities came in spite of relatively strong retail sales, which rose in December by 0.5 percent, above the 0.2 percent forecast by analysts.

    “The US equity markets are shrugging off a stronger-than-expected read on domestic December retail sales, with festering fiscal uncertainty restraining bullish conviction on the Street,” said a market update from Charles Schwab.

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