* U.S. "fiscal cliff" concerns overshadow Greek debt deal
* More companies announce special payout to dodge tax man
* Nov consumer confidence highest in more than 4 years
* Home prices rise for 8th month in Sept- survey
* Dow off 0.18 pct, S&P 500 up 0.01 pct, Nasdaq up 0.16 pct
By Edward Krudy
NEW YORK, Nov 27 U.S. stocks barely budged on
Tuesday as wrangling continued in Washington over key budget
talks, counterbalancing progress in easing Greece's debt burden
and a slew of positive U.S. economic data.
A deal in Europe to release emergency aid to debt-laden
Greece gave a brief early lift to stocks, but the news was not
enough to sustain the gains as investors confronted the looming
"fiscal cliff" at home that could bring higher taxes and
As Democrats and Republicans prepared to resume efforts to
bridge their sharp differences over taming the federal debt this
week in Washington, the market resumed its cautious stance.
A number of companies, including Wal-Mart and Las
Vegas Sands, have issued special dividends aimed at
helping investors avoid what could be a substantially increased
tax burden next year. That continued on Tuesday, with Supertex
and Heico Corp both announcing dividends. The
number is expected to grow through the end of the year.
Las Vegas Sands, which made the announcement late Monday,
jumped 5.7 percent to $46.54. Heico climbed 3 percent to $41.56,
while Supertex rose 2.8 percent to $17.31.
"It's about your money, and it's about right now," said
Frank Lesh, a futures analyst and broker at FuturePath Trading
LLC in Chicago. "At this point, you have to make your moves and
avoid the threat of more taxes.
"Until there is deal, I would expect to see more of those
machinations - just in case," he said.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 23.45
points, or 0.18 percent, to 12,943.92. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index inched up just 0.15 of a point, or 0.01 percent, to
1,406.44. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 4.70 points,
or 0.16 percent, to 2,981.48.
The market's worry is whether Congress and the White House
can agree on ways to avoid some $600 billion in automatic
spending cuts and tax increases that are due to kick in early
next year. Some fear that dramatic fiscal restraint could push
the U.S. economy into recession.
Market reaction was muted as data showed U.S. consumer
confidence in November hit the highest level in more than four
years and home prices in September rose for an eighth straight
In addition, a gauge of planned U.S. business spending
increased by the most in five months in October, according to
the Commerce Department's data on durable goods
As of Monday's close, the S&P 500 was holding above 1,400,
the level it reclaimed last week. But volume continued to be
weak as traders waited for signs of any progress in negotiations
to avoid the fiscal cliff. Last week, the S&P 500 gained nearly
Among individual stocks, Corning Inc shares rose 7.8
percent to $12.24 after the specialty glass maker said it
expects full-year sales of its Gorilla glass, used in
smartphones and tablets, to approach $1 billion.
McMoRan Exploration Co shares tumbled 12.5 percent
to $8.44 after the oil and gas exploration company said on
Monday that it could not achieve a measurable flow test at its
Davy Jones No. 1 deep gas well in the Gulf of Mexico.