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Old 'cliff,' Europe worries lower markets

A visit from a Santa Claus brought cheer

A visit from a Santa Claus brought cheer to the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange during the abbreviated session on Friday, but early trading Monday apparently didn't feel the love. (Nov. 21, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

Wall Street came back to work after the Thanksgiving weekend and faced leftover worries about the "fiscal cliff" and the European debt crisis. Stocks retreated after one of their best weeks of the year.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 42.31 points to 12,967.37. The Standard & Poor's 500 index declined 0.20 percent to 1,406.29. And the Nasdaq composite index managed a 0.33 percent increase to 2,976.78.

The major U.S. economic reports were not due until later in the week, leaving investors to rehash the European debt crisis and talks in Washington over the "cliff" of tax increases and government spending cuts set to take effect Jan. 1.

"The themes seem about as recycled as Thanksgiving turkey," David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Funds, wrote to clients. He expected a better read on the economy later this week, with reports on consumer confidence Tuesday and unemployment claims and third-quarter economic growth on Thursday.

Scott Carmack, co-portfolio manager at Leader Capital in Portland, Ore., said the decline Monday was all but inevitable after last week, when the Dow climbed 3.3 percent. "Monday is a good day to take profits," he said. "No one was in on Friday, so they're doing it Monday." -- AP

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