Dow lowest since August on fiscal cliff concern

Biggest Plunge

While Obama’s victory in 2008 spurred the biggest plunge ever for the Dow on the day after an election, gains for American assets over the past four years are among the best in the developed world. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s actions to revive the economy helped send the Dow up 67 percent. The Dow has gained 3.9 percentage points more than the MSCI All-Country World Index since Obama’s inauguration, beating 16 of 24 developed countries.

Investors also watched the latest developments in Europe’s attempt to tame its debt crisis. Greek lawmakers vote today on a bill that contains austerity measures demanded by the so-called troika that oversees euro-area bailouts insists. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said inflation risks are “very low” and the debt crisis is starting to hurt Germany, Europe’s largest economy.

“Germany has so far been largely insulated from some of the difficulties elsewhere in the euro area,” Draghi said at a conference today. “But the latest data suggest that these developments are now starting to affect the German economy.”

Largest Companies

Some of the biggest companies declined today. Bank of America retreated 4.7 percent to $9.47. Apple fell 2.2 percent to $567.30. Freeport dropped 2.8 percent to $39.23.

Fertilizer producers slumped. Agrium tumbled 8.8 percent to $97.75. The fertilizer maker and the largest U.S. farm-products retailer reported third-quarter profit and revenue that trailed analysts’ estimates after Asian sales talks stalled and a plant restart took longer than expected. Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. retreated 1.2 percent to $39.95. CF Industries Holdings Inc. decreased 1.9 percent to $202.33.

NII Holdings Inc. slumped 13 percent to $6.15. The Latin America mobile-phone carrier that offers service under the Nextel brand posted a wider loss than analysts had estimated.

Shares of defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Co. fell after Obama defeated Romney, who had proposed boosting military spending. Lockheed, the world’s biggest defense company, fell 4.3 percent to $90.78. Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc., the maker of aircraft carriers, fell 3.3 percent to $43.50.

Time Warner

Time Warner Inc. added 2.5 percent to $44.17. The media company that owns HBO and the Batman film franchise reported third-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates after making gains in cable-network revenue.

Macy’s Inc. rose 0.7 percent to $41.68. The second-largest U.S. department-store chain posted third-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates while its forecast for the end of the year signaled it may use heavy discounts to draw holiday shoppers.

Bloomberg News

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