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Stocks Crushed as Wall Street Girds for Fiscal Cliff Battle

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the producer price index fell 0.2% in October after advancing by 1.1% in September. Economists were expecting levels to increase 0.2%.

Excluding food and energy, the index fell 0.2% after being flat in September. Economists predicted an increase of 0.1%.

Also, the Census Bureau said business inventories increased 0.7% in September, which was more than the 0.5% rise expected by economists and August's 0.6% increase.

Sales were strong with a rise of 1.4% compared with a gain of 0.6% in August.

The FTSE 100 in London slid 1.11%, while the DAX in Germany closed off 0.94% on Wednesday. Japan's Nikkei average settled up 0.04% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed higher by 1.20%.

Gold for December delivery rose $5.30 to settle at $1,730.10 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while December crude oil contracts closed up 94 cents at $86.32.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury lost 1/32, lifting the yield to 1.604%. The dollar was up 0.01%, according to the U.S. dollar index.

In corporate news, Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) shares soared 34.5% after the retailer posted much better-than-expected third-quarter earnings of 87 cents a share and lifted its full-year outlook.

AMD (AMD) denied Tuesday that it's on the block following a report that the No. 2 chipmaker could be up for sale. The stock sank 7.7%.

Staples (SPLS) posted third-quarter revenue that missed forecasts, driven by tepid sales in Europe and Australia. The office supply chain's earnings per share came in above estimates at 46 cents on revenue of $6.35 billion; analysts expected earnings of 45 cents a share in the October-ended period on revenue of $6.45 billion. The stock gained 2.6%.

Mosaic (MOS) shares tumbled 3.3% after the fertilizer producer lowered its fiscal second-quarter potash and phosphates sales volume outlook, citing softer international demand.

Facebook (FB) shares popped 12.6% as long-term investors in the social networking giant were reportedly choosing to keep their stakes in the company amid the lockup expiration of the big blocks of insider stock.

Stock quotes in this article: ^DJI, ^GSPC, ^IXIC, SBUX, TEA, FB, PZZA, ANF, MOS, HD, CSCO, AMD, SPLS 

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