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Wall Street Falters Ahead of Friday Budget Deadline

Stocks ended lower across the board on Tuesday as the lack of market-moving economic data led to increased focus on the possibility of a decision from the Fed next week regarding the inevitable
Michael Teague is a staff writer for Equities.com. His previous experience includes three years as the associate editor of Los Angeles-based Al Jadid Magazine, a bi-annual review of the arts & culture of the Middle East, where he contributed many articles on the region in the form of features and book & film reviews. His educational background includes a BA in French literature from the University of California, Irvine, where he developed a startling proclivity for anything having to do with the 19th century.
Michael Teague is a staff writer for Equities.com. His previous experience includes three years as the associate editor of Los Angeles-based Al Jadid Magazine, a bi-annual review of the arts & culture of the Middle East, where he contributed many articles on the region in the form of features and book & film reviews. His educational background includes a BA in French literature from the University of California, Irvine, where he developed a startling proclivity for anything having to do with the 19th century.

Stocks ended lower across the board on Tuesday as the lack of market-moving economic data led to increased focus on the possibility of a decision from the Fed next week regarding the inevitable reduction of Treasury spending. All eyes will also be on Congress who, by this coming Friday will bump up against a deadline for concluding negotiations over the nation’s budget.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped by 0.32 percent to end the day at 1,802.62 points, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was lower by 0.33 percent to 15,973.13. The NASDAQ’s losses were more modest at 0.20 percent to 4,060.49 points.

Tech shares put significant pressure on the S&P 500, with a number of large companies edging lower on heavy trading. Cisco Systems (CSCO) , Microsoft (MSFT) , Oracle (ORCL) , and AT&T (T) all ended the day in the red. Social media and internet-related stocks, however, were a different story, with Yahoo! (YHOO) nearly 3 percent higher by the closing bell.

Automobile-parts retailer AutoZone (AZO) rose over 3 percent by the closing bell after releasing its earnings statement for its fiscal first quarter that showed the company handily surpassing analyst estimates.

Most of the Dow’s components ended the day on losses, with the worst performances coming from services and consumer goods stocks. Coca-Cola (KO) , Procter & Gamble (PG) , Home Depot (HD) , and Wal-Mart (WMT) accounted for four of the five biggest losers on the benchmark index.

Internet techs also performed well on the NASDAQ, with Facebook (FB) , Zynga (ZNGA) , Groupon (GRPN) ending higher along with Yahoo. With so much hysteria surrounding social media techs, Equities.com’s own Jacob Harper explores the importance of ad revenue to the future of companies hoping to be successful in the industry.

Outerwall Inc. ($OUTR), the company formerly known as CoinStar, added nearly 3 percent on the day after announcing the specifics of a promised restructuring plan that promises to significantly cut costs via layoffs, scaling back of projects, and making changes to its RedBox DVD rental business.