Traders work the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.(Photo: David Karp, AP)

Story Highlights

  • Shoppers flooded stores in record numbers over Black Friday weekend
  • New White House report warns of unresolved ‘fiscal cliff’ economic consequences
  • Oil prices jump nearly 1.5% on concerns about the Middle East

4:40PM EST November 26. 2012 –

NEW YORK (AP) — Major stock indexes ended mixed Monday after a warning from White House economists dampened what had been a huge weekend for retailers.

The Dow Jones industrial average finished down 42.31 points, 0.3%, to 12,967.37. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index closed down 2.88 points, 0.2%, to 1,406.29. The tech-laden Nasdaq composite index, boosted by gains in the shares of Facebook (FB)[1] and Yahoo (YHOO)[2], finished up 9.93 points, 0.3% to 2,976.78.

The price of crude oil closed up 1.4% to $86.67 on concerns about the Middle East. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak[3] on Monday abruptly announced he was quitting politics, injecting new turmoil into that nation’s political scene weeks ahead of general elections.

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The euro gained a penny, 0.7%, to finish at 1.2969 against the dollar. And the price of gold fell $2.40, 0.1%, to close at $1,749.

Shoppers flooded stores in record numbers[5] over the holiday weekend, according to the National Retail Federation. The organization says 247 million shoppers visited stores and websites during the Thanksgiving holiday, up 9.2% from last year. And investors are anxious to see how retailers fared on Cyber Monday[6].

However, a new report from the National Economic Council[7] and the Council of Economic Advisers said that if the current budget impasse remains unresolved, a sudden increase in taxes for middle-income taxpayers could reduce consumer spending nearly $200 billion in 2013.

In overseas trading[8], European markets ended Monday lower on fears that a deal to allow Greece to get another round[9] of bailout funding might elude the finance ministers of the 17-nation eurozone.

Following last week’s bout of optimism, which sent a number of stock indexes near 2012 highs and the euro back toward $1.30, some investors were expected to cash in on their gains.

In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 stock index closed down 0.6% to close at 5,786.72 while Germany’s DAX 30 finished 0.2% lower to 7,292.03. The CAC-40 index in France ended 0.8% to 3,500.94.

Earlier, Asian markets failed to make much headway. While Japan’s Nikkei 225 index ended up 0.2% to 9,388.94, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was sapped of momentum by lethargic mainland Chinese markets, closing 0.3% lower at 21,857.77.

In China, the Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.5% to 2,017.46 for the day while the smaller Shenzhen Composite Index lost 1.4% to end Monday at 789.49.

Oil prices tracked equities lower, with the benchmark New York rate down 79 cents at $87.49 per barrel in electronic trading

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