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Stocks slip after weak start to holiday shopping

NEW YORK Stocks closed lower on Wall Street as investors worry about weak consumer spending as the holiday shopping season gets underway.  

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 94 points, or 0.6 percent, to close at 15,914 Tuesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell five points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,795. The Nasdaq composite fell eight points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,037.  

Companies that depend heavily on consumer spending had some of the biggest losses. GameStop, the video game retailer, sank $1.02, or 2 percent, to $45.95.  

Automakers fell despite reporting higher sales for November. Ford fell 50 cents, or 3 percent, to $16.56.  Three stocks fell for every two that rose on the New York Stock Exchange. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.78 percent. 

Continued speculation that the Federal Reserve will soon start scaling back monetary stimulus is also weighing on financial markets. Investors are looking ahead to Friday, when the U.S. Labor Department on will release data on November job gains. 

Signs that the labor market is firming up could encourage the central bank to begin reining in its $85 billion-a-month bond purchase program as early as this month, although many forecasters predict the Fed will wait until 2014 to reduce stimulus.

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