(By Balachander) U.S. stocks ended in the red as lingering worries about the looming fiscal cliff and eurozone concerns dented sentiment.
The S&P 500 Index retreated 0.40 percent to end at 1,374.53. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at 12,756.18, down 0.46 percent. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.70 percent to close at 2,883.89.
Investors continue to weigh the so-called fiscal cliff of roughly $600 billion in spending cuts and tax increases that could hit economic growth. Last week, President Barack Obama called for higher taxes on wealthy Americans to address the deficit
In other news, euro-area finance ministers failed to reach agreement with the International Monetary Fund on releasing the next bailout tranche to Greece. The euro-group will meet again next week to finalize the payment of the next tranche of aid for Greece. On Sunday, the Greek government passed a new round of austerity package.
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In corporate news, Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) rose 3.63 percent after the home improvement retailer posted third-quarter results that came in better than expected and raised its full-year forecast.
Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) dropped 3.32 percent after the world's largest software maker said Windows President Steven Sinofsky is leaving the company effective immediately.
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Weatherford International Ltd (NYSE: WFT) slumped 15.90 percent after the drilling equipment provider reported weaker-than-expected revenue for the third quarter.
AK Steel Holding Corp. (NYSE: AKS) retreated 17.58 percent after the West Chester, Ohio-based maker of flat-rolled carbon steels forecast a loss for the fourth quarter amid a fall in prices and said it has commenced a registered offering of 25 million shares.
Dicks Sporting Goods Inc. (NYSE: DKS) jumped 4.66 percent after the Coraopolis, Pennsylvania-based sporting goods retailer lifted its earnings forecast following stronger-than-expected quarterly profit.
Diamond Foods (NASDAQ: DMND) surged 14.45 percent after the the snack-food company said it will release restated financial results on November 14. In early February, Diamond Foods announced that its audit committee found faults with regard to payments to walnut growers in 2010 and 2011 and that it will be restating its results for these two years.
Oxigene Inc. (NASDAQ: OXGN) spiked 19.40 percent after the company said a mid-stage study of Zybrestat showed its experimental eye-disease drug has the potential as a treatment for polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy and other ocular diseases involving abnormal blood vessel formation.
European markets ended in the green, with Germany's DAX up 0.01 percent to close at 7,169.12. France's CAC40 added 0.56 percent to finish at 3,430.60. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 gained 0.33 percent to end at 5,786.25.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index slumped 1.51 percent to finish at 2,047.89. Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 0.18 percent to end at 8,661.05. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index plunged 1.13 percent to end at 21,188.65. India's BSE Sensex closed at 18,618.87, down 0.28 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Crude oil futures lost 0.27 percent to $85.34 per barrel, while natural gas futures jumped 4.85 percent to $3.74 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures dipped 0.31 percent to $1,725.5 per ounce and silver futures fell 0.22 percent to $32.45 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro edged 0.06 percent lower against the U.S. dollar to 1.2704. The British pound dipped 0.03 percent against the greenback to 1.5873, and the dollar slipped 0.13 percent against the Japanese yen at 79.3900.