Stocks edge lower; Apple extends decline

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Associated Press

Posted on January 15, 2013 at 12:02 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks opened lower on Wall Street as concerns about the government's finances intensified, offsetting a report that retail sales rose in December.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 32 points to 13,475 as of 10:26 a.m. EST. The Standard and Poor's 500 dropped five points to 1,466, the Nasdaq Composite index fell 21 points to 3,099.

Apple fell $12 to $490, its third daily drop. The stock hasn't closed below $500 in almost a year. Apple slumped 3.6 percent Monday on concern that demand for its iPhone 5 is slowing.

Concern about the state of government's ability to borrow may also be starting to weigh on investors' minds.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told congressional leaders in a letter late Monday that the U.S. government will reach its borrowing limit as soon as mid-February, earlier than expected.

Earlier in the day President Barack Obama had urged Congress to raise the borrowing limit so the government can continue paying its bills. He told reporters Monday that a failure to lift the debt ceiling could harm the economy and cause turmoil in financial markets. Republicans want spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt limit.

Stocks declined despite a report that showed retail sales increased in December. Consumers bought more autos, furniture and clothing, despite worries about potential tax increases. Sales rose 0.5 percent in December from November, slightly better than November's 0.4 percent increase and the best showing since September, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

Both the S&P 500 and the Dow are up on the year, having surged in the first week of January after lawmakers struck a last-minute budget deal to prevent the economy going over the "fiscal cliff." The agreement prevented a series of tax increases and spending cuts that would probably have pushed the U.S. economy back into recession, according to economists.

Optimism about the outlook for global growth has also boosted stocks.

The S&P 500 is up 2.7 percent this year and closed at a five -year high of 1,472 last week. The 30-member Dow is up 2.6 percent since the start of 2013.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury price, which moves inversely to its price, fell 3 basis points to 1.81 percent.

Among other stocks making big moves;

— Lululemon Athletica, a maker of yoga apparel, dropped $5.39 to $66.88 after its revenue forecasts fell short of revenue analysts' estimates.

— Given Imaging Ltd. fell $2.17 to $16.03 after the medical equipment company said it was no longer considering a possible sale of the company and added that one of its largest shareholders plans to sell its stake.

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