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US stocks slip as 'fiscal cliff' deadline nears

US stocks edged lower Thursday as the deadline for the White House and Republican lawmakers to reach a deal to avert the looming "fiscal cliff" crisis crept closer.

In the first five minutes of trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 2.09 points (0.02 percent) at 13,112.50.

The broad-market S&P 500 edged down 0.78 points (0.05 percent) to 1,419.05, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite lost 4.79 points (0.16 percent) at 2,985.36.

The White House and Congress have until New Year's Eve to reach a compromise on how to avert a year-end crisis that could lead to stiff tax hikes and drastic budget cuts.

Experts say a failure to strike a compromise could plunge the world's biggest economy into recession

On Wednesday, the Dow was down 0.19 percent, while the S&P 500 lost 0.48 percent and the Nasdaq Composite shed 0.74 percent.

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