* Boehner comments prompt selling
* Best Buy surges on report of possible buy offer
* Initial jobless claims fell sharply last week, retail
* Dow off 0.4 pct, S&P 500 off 0.6 pct, Nasdaq off 0.7 pct
By Gabriel Debenedetti
NEW YORK, Dec 13 U.S. stocks retreated after six
days of gains on Thursday as encouraging reports on retail sales
and jobless claims were outweighed by the uncertainty
surrounding the "fiscal cliff" negotiations in Washington.
Drawn-out fiscal negotiations between Democrats and
Republicans have constrained trading. There is concern that tax
hikes and spending cuts set to begin in 2013 if a deal is not
reached in Washington will hurt growth, but overall, the stock
market has taken it in stride.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday accused
President Barack Obama of "slow-walking" the economy off the
"Today's there's a certain sense that both sides are still
apart," said Gordon Charlop, managing director at Rosenblatt
Securities in New York, describing Thursday's trading as
"tweaking" while investors watch Washington's back-and-forth
"I think it's imperative they cooperate on some levels, and
if they do, I think we'll see a Santa Claus rally."
The S&P 500 managed gains for six straight sessions and
touched its highest level since Oct. 22 on Wednesday.
Best Buy Co shares shot up 15.4 percent to $14.05
after a report that the company's founder is expected to offer
to buy the consumer electronics retailer by the end of the week.
The shares hit an intraday high at $14.48 - up 18.8 percent.
Weekly claims for jobless benefits dropped to nearly the
lowest level since February 2008 and retail sales rose in
November after an October decline, improving the picture for
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 50.86 points,
or 0.38 percent, to 13,194.59. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
slid 7.80 points, or 0.55 percent, to 1,420.68. The
Nasdaq Composite Index fell 20.67 points, or 0.69
percent, to 2,990.14.
A day after the Federal Reserve announced a new round of
stimulus for the economy, markets focused on Chairman Ben
Bernanke's reiteration that monetary policy would not be
sufficient to offset the impact of going over the fiscal cliff.
The S&P energy index slid 1 percent as Nabors
Industries Ltd dropped 5.4 percent to $13.75 after
Jefferies cut the drilling company's stock to "underperform"
from "hold," and shares of U.S. refining company Phillips 66
lost 3.1 percent to $51.42.
European Union finance ministers reached agreement to make
the European Central Bank the bloc's top banking supervisor,
which could boost confidence in EU leaders' ability to confront
the euro zone's sovereign debt crisis.
CVS Caremark Corp shares gained 2 percent to $48.48
after saying it expects higher earnings in 2013.