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Nov. 27, 2012 at 2:00 PM
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Stocks slide early

NEW YORK, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- U.S. stocks were mixed Tuesday as investors digested a barrage of economic reports and a report from Paris that predicted a global slowdown in 2013.

The Commerce Department said durable goods orders were stagnant September to October. Orders rose 1.5 percent excluding big-ticket transportation items, the category that prompted a sharp increase in orders in September.

A closely watched housing market report, the S&P Case-Shiller home price index, indicated a 3 percent rise in prices in the 20-city index, the larger of the two indexes the report covers.

In Europe, stocks were given a boost as financial leaders reached an agreement to allow international bailout funds to be released for Greece. On the negative side, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris predicted economic growth expectations among its 34 members for 2013 had slowed from an earlier prediction of 2.2 percent growth to 1.4 percent.

In early afternoon trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 35.56 points or 0.28 percent to 12,930.81.

The Nasdaq added 4.02 points or 0.14 percent to 2,980.81. The Standard & Poor's 500 lost 00.88 points or 0.06 percent to 1,405.41.

The 10-year treasury note rose 5/32 to yield 1.651 percent.

The euro fell to $1.2933 from Monday's $1.2972. The dollar rose to 82.24 yen from 82.08 yen.

Japan's Nikkei rose 0.37 percent, 34.36 points, to 9,423.30.

Britain's FTSE 100 index added 0.22 percent, 12.99 points, to 5,799.71.

Durable goods orders flat in October

WASHINGTON, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- U.S. durable goods orders were flat September to October, after surging in September, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

After posting gains the largest month-to-month gain in three years, orders were unchanged month-to-month in October, but rose 1.5 percent with big ticket transportation items excluded from the data.

A jump in aircraft orders were behind September's spike, which made it predictable that orders would fall back to earth in October.

Excluding defense items in October, new orders rose 0.1 percent.

Attaching dollars to the data, new orders rose by less than 0.1 percent to $216.9 billion. Machinery provided the biggest gain with a $900 million increase to $30.9 billion.

Inventories of durable goods rose by $1.6 billion or 0.4 percent to $374.4 billion. Inventories of transportation equipment rose by $1.2 billion or 1 percent to $113.9 billion.

September's data was revised slightly lower. New orders rose 9.2 percent month to month, down from 9.4 percent announced in the previous report.

ONGC, ConocoPhillips announce deal

HOUSTON, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- U.S. energy giant ConocoPhillips plans to sell its 8.4 percent stake in Kazakhstan's Kashagan oil field to India's state-run outfit for about $5 billion.

The Houston-based company said the sale to the international arm of India's Oil and Natural Gas Corp. is expected to close in the first half of 2013, subject to, among other things, various government approvals. The sale relates to ConocoPhillips' interest in the Kashagan in the Kazakh sector of the Caspian Sea.

"Expected proceeds are approximately $5 billion, which represents the purchase price plus expected working capital and customary adjustments at closing," the company said.

With the latest deal, ConocoPhillips said its proceeds from its asset sales would total about $7 billion "and strongly position the company to accomplish its target of $8-$10 billion by the end of 2013."

The oil field is one of the biggest discoveries in recent decades, but its development has been plagued by delays.

"The sale of this quality asset is an important component of our ongoing strategic asset disposition program," said Don Wallette, company executive vice president of commercial, business development, and corporate planning. "We are pleased that ONGC Videsh recognizes the value of this asset."

The company said at the end of September the carrying value of its interest in Kashagan was about $5.5 billion and that it expects to show an after-tax impairment of about $400 million in the fourth quarter.

Consumer optimism gains

NEW YORK, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- U.S. consumer confidence rose to a high for 2012 in November for the second consecutive month, the Conference Board said Tuesday.

The increase was the third consecutive gain, which followed the first two-month streak of the year.

For 2012, the index rose in January, July, September, October and now November.

In November, 16.5 percent of respondents to a survey that involves more than 5,000 households indicated they believed business conditions were "good," a percentage unchanged from the previous month.

However, fewer indicated they believed business conditions were "bad" -- 31.5 percent compared to 33 percent in October.

The percentage of respondents indicating jobs were "plentiful," rose from 10.4 percent to 11.2 percent while those indicating jobs were "hard to get" was unchanged at 38.8 percent.

The overall Consumer Confidence Index, which assigns 1985 a base value of 100, rose in the month from 72.2 to 73.7, the highest level in 4 1/2 years, the Conference Board said.

"This month's moderate improvement was the result of an uptick in expectations, while consumers' assessment of present-day conditions continues to hold steady," said Lynn Franco, director of the board's Consumer Research Center.

"Over the past few months, consumers have grown increasingly more upbeat about the current and expected state of the job market, and this turnaround in sentiment is helping to boost confidence," she said.

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