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Weak Start to Holiday Shopping Continues to Take Stocks Lower

Stocks ended lower for the second consecutive trading session on Tuesday, with losses threatening to put a bookend on about two straight months of gains that saw benchmark indices establishing new
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 for the second consecutive trading session on Tuesday, with losses threatening to put a bookend on about two straight months of gains that saw benchmark indices establishing new all-time highs on several occasions.

The commencement, in earnest, of the holiday shopping season underwhelmed Wall Street with less spending (and deaths) than expected on the so-called “Black Friday” annual ritual. Consumer discretionary and cyclical stocks took substantial losses, putting significant downward pressure on the broader markets. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was 0.32 percent lower at 1,795.15 points, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off by 0.59 percent to 15,914.62 points, and the NASDAQ closed one fifth of a percent lower to 4,037.20 points.

The biggest losses on the Dow were taken by E.I. du Pont de Nemours (DD) , off by more than 2 percent, followed by drug manufacturer Pfizer Inc. ($PFI) who also lost over 2 percent after being removed from Goldman Sachs’ (GS) much vaunted “Conviction Buy” list. Investors looking for healthcare plays, however, can still rely on a number of biotech stocks that have performed incredibly well in 2013.

On the S&P 500, consumer goods and services companies were mostly lower, with high-volume drops for Ford Motor Co. (F) , General Motors (GM) , Delta Airlines (DAL) , and Lowe’s (LOW) . Formerly popular apparel-maker Abercrombie & Fitch bucked this trend, however, ending the day nearly 6 percent higher after shareholders called for the replacement of CEO Michael Jefferies.

The NASDAQ provided the most impressive performances of the day, particularly with the help of Tesla Motors (TSLA) , who jumped nearly 17 percent after the German Federal Motor Authority released a reportthat said fires that have broken out in the company’s Model S sedans over the last year have not been the result of manufacturing flaws. A number of tech shares performed well, with Apple Inc. (AAPL) up 2.67 percent, and semiconductor manufacturer Micron Technology (MU) was up 2.6 percent.