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US STOCKS-S&P 500 slips from record, Fed remains in focus

Rodrigo Campos
Tuesday, 10 Dec 2013 | 2:08 PM ET

* Twitter rallies to new high, doubles IPO price

* Rambus rallies after settling with Micron

* Indexes down: Dow 0.25 pct; S&P 0.27 pct; Nasdaq 0.2 pct

NEW YORK, Dec 10 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks slipped on Tuesday, a day after a record close on the S&P 500, with traders looking ahead to next week's Federal Reserve meeting in the absence of market-sensitive economic data.

Blue-chips Procter & Gamble and Coca Cola were among the top decliners on the S&P 500, down slightly more than 1 percent each and weighing on the S&P consumer staples index .

A number of U.S. policymakers suggested on Monday the U.S. central bank may be closer than previously thought to trimming its $85 billion a month in bond purchases. But stronger economic data of late, including a drop in the unemployment rate to a five-year low, helped ease investors' angst over a pullback in the Fed's stimulus.

"Monetary policy responds to changes in the economy and as long as the economy is better, tapering shouldn't be too difficult to endure," said Kevin Caron, market strategist at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co in Florham Park, New Jersey.

The Fed's policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee meets Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 39.94 points or 0.25 percent, to 15,985.59, the S&P 500 lost 4.81 points or 0.27 percent, to 1,803.56 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 8.061 points or 0.2 percent, to 4,060.69.

Twitter hit an all-time high of $52.58, more than doubling its $26 initial pricing in early November and extending Monday's gains after a spate of product announcements that could boost its revenues. Shares were up 5.3 percent at $51.75.

Other Internet stocks were performing well on Tuesday with Facebook up 3.7 percent to $50.65 and Yahoo up 3 per cent to $40.03.

AbbVie shares hit a record high of $54.11 after its all-oral hepatitis C therapy cured 96 percent of difficult-to-treat patients in a late-stage clinical trial, keeping the company well placed in a highly competitive race to deliver new treatments for the serious liver disease. Shares were up 2.3 percent at $52.41.

Shares of Rambus Inc jumped 17 percent to $9.98 after the company settled a patent dispute with Micron Technology.

General Motors Co was in the spotlight after the automaker said Chief Executive Dan Akerson will step down next month and be replaced by Mary Barra, the company's global product development chief. The stock fell 0.6 percent to $40.65.

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