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Stocks Fall as 'Fiscal-Cliff' Deadline Nears

Tickers in this article: AEGR FIG GOOG RF RIMM YUM ^DJI ^GSPC ^IXIC

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stocks fell at the open in Monday's pre-holiday shortened session as "fiscal cliff" talks in Washington remain stalled.

Discussions over striking a budget deal before the Jan. 1 deadline aren't likely to resume until Thursday at the earliest as Congress and President Obama take a Christmas break.

"Hopes faded long ago for anything meaningful coming out of this fiscal cliff debate, but now we're seeing downright pessimism in the market," said Sonny Tahiliani, managing director at MacroMoves. "Lawmakers may want to revisit the CBO's projections on the hit to GDP and seek to connect the dots, because risking a recession inside of an output gap is dangerous territory. The Fed will be forced to act in a bolder way should compromise fail to materialize."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 32 points, or 0.2%, to 13,159. The S&P 500 fell 3 points, or 0.2%, to 1,427. The Nasdaq declined 6 points, or 0.2%, to 3,015.

Trading volumes are expected to be light on Christmas Eve. Stock markets in the U.S. close Monday at 1 p.m. EST.

The economic calendar in the U.S. Monday is bare.

In overseas markets, the FTSE 100 in London was rising by 0.2% on Monday while the DAX in Germany was off by 0.5%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed the trading session with a gain of 0.1%. Japanese markets were closed.

Gold for February delivery was up $1.60 at $1,661.70 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. February crude oil contracts were down 8 cents to $88.59 a barrel. .

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The benchmark 10-year Treasury was trading at 1.8. The U.S. dollar index was at 79.52.

In corporate news , federal agencies are examining allegations that Regions Financial (RF) improperly classified loans that went bad during the financial crisis, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing depositions filed as part of a civil lawsuit against the bank.

Regions shares fell 0.9% to $7.05.

Google's(GOOG) newly acquired Motorola Mobility unit is working on a handset -- known internally as the "X phone" -- in an effort to provide more competition for Apple, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The stock fell 0.5% to $712.23.

Shares of Research In Motion (RIMM) were continuing their descent, down 0.5% to $10.86 on Monday, after the BlackBerry maker said in an earnings conference call last week that it would change the way it charges customers service fees, putting a key source of revenue at risk.

Fortress Investment (FIG) said Monday that co-founder Robert Kauffman plans to retire.

The stock rose 2.2% to $4.22.

Aegerion Pharmaceuticals (AEGR) received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for Juxtapid capsules in patients with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, a rare cholesterol illness.