December 13, 2013
Wall Street ends down for fifth session as budget debate, Wal-Mart weigh
US stocks fell and the S&P 500 put in a fifth day of losses, its worst losing streak since the end of 2012, on jitters funding for the federal government would run out and after a drop in shares of the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was down 61.33 points, or 0.40 percent, at 15,273.26. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX was down 4.65 points, or 0.27 percent, at 1,692.77. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was down 7.16 points, or 0.19 percent, at 3,761.10.
European shares were mostly steady with nagging concerns over a potential US government shutdown at the end of the month keeping investors on edge.
German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp rallied 3.6 percent, featuring among the top raisers across Europe, after activist investor Cevian raised its stake in the company to 5.2 percent and said it could buy more.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.01 percent at 1,258.33 points. The index has slipped about 1.3 percent since hitting a five-year high last week.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index was up 0.04 percent, at 2,924.22 points.
Investors remained on edge as congressional authorisation for the US government to spend money runs out at the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, and a small number of Tea Party-backed US senators have been threatening to stall a bill to renew the funding.
The market has also been fretting about next month's negotiations in Washington to raise the federal debt ceiling to prevent a default, as well as the outlook for the Federal Reserve's stimulus measures after the Fed decided not to scale back the measures last week.
The broad STOXX Europe 600 is up about 5 percent so far this month, on track to post its best monthly performance in two years, and its best month of September since 1997.
The sharp rise in the valuation ratio, however, suggests that the equity rally has been more about excess liquidity in the financial markets than underlying company profit growth.
Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei share average eased for a second day hit by concerns about a possible US government shutdown, while Tokyo Electron Ltd bucked overall weakness on news of a $7 billion-plus takeover of the tech company by Applied Materials Inc.
The Nikkei shed 0.8 percent to 14,620.53, moving away from a nine-week high of 14,816.65 hit last Friday. The Topix dropped 0.3 percent to 1,211.15.