* U.S. "fiscal cliff" concerns overshadow Greek debt deal
* More companies announce special payout to dodge tax man
* November consumer confidence highest in more than 4 years
* Home prices rise for 8th month in Sept- survey
* Dow off 0.6 pct, S&P 500 off 0.4 pct, Nasdaq off 0.2 pct
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Nov 27 U.S. stocks declined on Tuesday
as wrangling continued in Washington over budget talks, while
homebuilders' stocks outperformed the broader market after
Strengthening the case for a sustained rebound in housing,
single-family home prices rose for an eighth straight month in
September. The PHLX housing sector index advanced 0.5
percent, with all but one of its 19 components posting gains.
"As long as you have interest rates as low as they are right
now, housing is definitely back," said Brian Amidei, managing
director at HighTower Advisors in Palm Desert, California.
Despite strong housing data, an increase in planned business
spending and a more than 4-year high in consumer sentiment,
traders were cautious as politicians in Washington made little
progress in dealing with the "fiscal cliff."
Markets have lately focused on 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.
"If there's any reason why the (stock) market has stalled
out, it's because large investors have decided to step back and
see this play out, because I think they're very aware of how
important this is," said Hugh Johnson, chief investment officer
of Hugh Johnson Advisors LLC in Albany, New York.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 74.53 points,
or 0.57 percent, to 12,892.84. The S&P 500 Index dropped
5.68 points, or 0.40 percent, to 1,400.61. The Nasdaq Composite
Index shed 4.80 points, or 0.16 percent, to 2,971.98.
The S&P 500 was holding at 1,400, a key psychological level
it reclaimed last week. Last week, the S&P 500 gained nearly 4
As budget talks linger, Las Vegas Sands and Supertex
added their names to a growing list of companies
announcing special dividends aimed at helping investors avoid a
possibly higher tax burden next year.
Las Vegas Sands jumped 5.5 percent to $46.46. Supertex rose
3.4 percent to $17.41.
Food maker Ralcorp Holdings shares jumped 26.5
percent to $88.82 after long-time suitor ConAgra Foods
sealed a deal to buy it for $5 billion. ConAgra shares gained
4.3 percent to $29.50.
Corning Inc shares rose 6.7 percent to $12.11 after
the specialty glass maker said it expects full-year sales of its
Gorilla glass, used in smartphones and tablets, to approach $1
McMoRan Exploration Co shares tumbled 11.8 percent
to $8.51 a day after the oil and gas driller gave a
disappointing update on a key gas prospect in a Gulf of Mexico