Stocks Have Nowhere to Run as Investors Keep Watch on Washington

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Major U.S. markets traded lower Tuesday amid ongoing budget talks and profit-taking after the S&P 500 reached a record high on Monday, and concerns the Federal Reserve might curtail its bond-buying program of $85 billion a month as early as next week.

  • The S&P 500 lost 0.32% to 1,802.62 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.33% to 15,973.13. The Nasdaq closed 0.2% lower at 4,060.49.
  • Asian markets closed lower, depressed by data showing Chinese factory production was up 10% in November, shy of estimates of 10.1%, according to Bloomberg. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index fell 0.25% to 15,611.31 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng clipped 0.28% to 23,744.19. In Europe, Germany's DAX fell 0.88%, France's CAC 40 was off 1% and London's FTSE closed 0.56% lower.
  • Negotiators in Congress have a Dec. 13 deadline to reach agreement on automatic spending cuts. A deal would solve a three-year impasse of failed negotiations which have unsettled equity markets. 
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission approved the Volcker Rule. The ruling is designed to limit the big banks' ability to engage in proprietary trading, a move which would reduce volatility.
  • Stock movers included Newmont Mining (NEM)NEM, which jumped 2.4% to $24.18 amid the biggest rise for gold prices in seven weeks. Goldman Sachs  (GS)GS gained 1.3% to $169.77 as the Volcker Rule was ushered in. Twitter (TWTR)TWTR extended Monday's gains, reaching an all-time high on Tuesday on rumors Icahn has bought shares in the microblogger. The social network on Tuesday gained 5.8% to $51.97, more than 15% higher than its IPO's opening price in November. 
  • Also moving markets, Icahn Enterprises  (IEP)IEP, the activist investor Carl Icahn's takeover shop, announced plans to sell 2 million shares to raise money for investments by some of the firm's subsidiaries. Shares of Icahn Enterprises tumbled 10.8% to $132.50.
  • S&P Winner and Loser: WPX Energy  (WPX)WPX was the best performer in the S&P 500 as shares jumped 4.2% to $19.33, while Campbell Soup Company  (CPB)CPB fell the most by 3.8% to $40.94.
  • Data released by the Census Bureau in the morning showed wholesale inventories rose 1.4% in October, well over a 0.3% gain expected by analysts surveyed by Reuters.  

-- By Jane Searle and Joe Deaux in New York