Stocks fall again on Washington woes

Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 8:36am

Stocks fell again Thursday as Washington remains paralyzed and the nation approaches the deadline for raising the U.S. debt ceiling.

The Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 were all lower in early trading. They were little helped by the morning's economic news that jobless claims rose slightly. More federal workers could file in the coming weeks if they remain on unpaid leave for a while due to the shutdown.

Meetings at the White House between congressional leaders and President Obama have failed to produce a breakthrough. That's making investors jittery. The Dow has dropped for eight of the past 10 trading days and is close to slipping below the key psychological level of 15,000 for the first time in about a month.

"I think probably at the beginning of the week people didn't think it would take so long to sort out," said David Jones, chief market strategist at IG Markets in London. "The fact that it's dragged on is making people a little bit nervous."

More troubling for Wall Street is the risk that the political stalemate could prevent the debt ceiling from being raised, meaning the government may not be able to pay all its bills later this month.

What's moving: Tesla's stock continued to fall Thursday morning after a fiery crash near Seattle, Wash., which sparked concerns about the safety of the car maker's Model S sedan. Tesla said the fire happened after the car crashed into a "large metallic object."

Shares of Angie's List tumbled 15% on concerns that the customer review site is hitting a rough patch. The company's chief technology officer left abruptly last week and now the website has drastically reduced its membership prices. Other Internet stocks that have been red hot lately, such as Priceline, Yahoo, Netflix and Facebook, pulled back Thursday too.

Herbalife shares are down more than 4%, even though hedge fund manager Bill Ackman disclosed he has recently restructured his short position on the nutritional supplement company to lessen his risk. The stock has more than doubled this year, making Ackman's bet a huge loser on paper.

United Technologies shares were down nearly 1% after the defense contractor announced that it would likely furlough 2,000 workers starting next week, thanks to the government shutdown. About 800,000 federal employees have already been furloughed.

Asian markets ended mixed. European markets were also mixed in midday trading


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