US stocks : Dow off 0.6 pct

Stocks

US stocks closing: U.S. stocks slipped on Monday after Wall Street posted its best week in over five months as investors reacted to a lack of visible progress in budget deficit discussions in Washington.

The S&P 500 was holding above the 1,400 level it retook last week, and volume continued to be weak as traders awaited any advance in talks over a series of spending cuts and tax hikes scheduled to begin next year, which threaten to drag the economy into recession.

Retailer shares fell, with the S&P 500 retail index off 0.7 percent after the start of the holiday shopping season over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend. [IUD:nL1E8MQ1FD]

The concern is big retailers are discounting so much, sales look better, but at what cost? said Angel Mata, managing director of listed equity trading at Stifel Nicolaus Capital Markets in Baltimore.

Bucking the trend, shares of eBay hit their highest in almost eight years with a 4.6 percent jump to $51.27 on strong sales data for Monday. Amazon gained 1.1 percent to $242.45. Black Friday sales online topped $1 billion for the first time.

Meanwhile, U.S. lawmakers have made little progress toward a compromise to avoid the fiscal cliff, according to a top Senate Democrat who was interviewed over the weekend.

Indications of progress in talks, or just political willingness to negotiate, were part of the reason why the market rallied last week.

In the other major worry for the market, euro zone finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund made their third attempt in as many weeks to agree on releasing emergency aid for Greece, with policymakers saying a write-down of Greek debt is off the table for now.

We had a good week last week and absent any news we were going to give something back today, Mata said. There's no catalyst to continue the rally we saw last week, though Greece would have been important if we weren't dealing with the fiscal cliff.

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