U.S. stocks fell, following a two- week advance for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as an unexpected contraction in manufacturing spurred concern about the potential economic toll from the so-called fiscal cliff.
European stocks were little changed as investors assessed conflicting reports about the progress of U.S. budget negotiations aimed at avoiding automatic tax increases and spending cuts from coming into force next year.
U.K. stocks retreated, following their biggest weekly gain this year, amid concern Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government will have to manage increased calls for an independence referendum in Catalonia.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso’s claim that the U.S. is to blame for Europe’s debt crisis is “foolish” and further undermines confidence in the region, investors managing more than $400 billion said.
European stocks climbed, completing their biggest weekly rally in three months, on speculation that the Federal Reserve will opt for further stimulus after a report showed U.S. employers hired fewer workers than estimated.
European equity strategists say it’s too soon to buy into stocks until more clarity becomes available on whether Japan has managed to contain earthquake- damaged nuclear reactors that threaten to leak radiation.
European stocks rose for a third week as Greece formed a coalition government of parties prepared to abide by the terms of the country’s two bailouts, increasing optimism that the nation will remain in the euro.
For the first time, the value of transactions in exchange-traded funds tracking the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index is poised to exceed the turnover for all the stocks in the benchmark gauge of American equity.