(NEW YORK) — Stocks slipped Thursday as investors watch and worry, with Congress and President Obama no closer to a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff of tax increases and deep government spending cuts.
The Dow closed down 75 points Thursday, falling to 13,171. The Nasdaq gave up 22 points and closed at 2,992. The S&P lost nine points, closing at 1,419.
Fiscal cliff or not, three new reports on retail sales, gas prices and jobs show the economy may show some signs of life.
A strong start to the holiday shopping season pushed retail sales up three-tenths of a percent in November erasing a drop of about the same amount the month before.
Gas prices are also dropping and that helped drive wholesale prices down last month.
Meanwhile, first time unemployment claims were down sharply for the fourth week in a row, a sign that the job market may be improving — or, more likely, many experts contend — stores are adding temporary workers to deal with the holiday rush.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Paul Menser, BizMojo Idaho
Ivaylo Vezenkov and Lauren del Valle, CNN
Erin McClam, CNN