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News Summary: Stocks dip as budget deal hopes fade

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The Associated Press | December 24, 2012 02:27 PM EST | AP


NO FESTIVE CHEER: Investors found little festive cheer on the last day trading before Christmas. Stocks fell on concern that time is running out for lawmakers to reach a budget deal to avoid the U.S. going over the "fiscal cliff" and possibly sliding into a recession.

"CLIFF"-MAS SPIRIT: In more than a dozen interviews with The Associated Press, conservative activists said they would rather see the country fall off the cliff than agree to any tax increases. Sen. Joe Lieberman said Sunday that he now thought it was more likely than not that the U.S. would go over the "cliff."

HOLIDAY SALES: J.C. Penney Co.'s stock gained 1.4 percent after Oppenheimer analysts reiterated a "Buy" rating, saying that traffic in stores in the final weekend before Christmas was strong.