Dec. 21 - Summary of business headlines: Investors nervous over fiscal cliff breakdown, Durable orders and consumer spending rise; NRA wants armed police in schools, but gun stocks still. Carmen Roberts reports.
No deal on Capitol Hill. More selling on Wall Street. The breakdown in talks to avoid the fiscal cliff by the December 31 deadline is affecting investor psychology in a big way; that according to Peter Kenny, Managing Director of Institutional Sales at Knight Capital Group. SOUNDBITE: PETER KENNEY, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF INSTITUTIONAL SALES, KNIGHT CAPITAL GROUP (ENGLISH) SAYING: "This is really dysfunction in the extreme, and of course world markets responded accordingly." Wall Street put the lid on the session with a nearly one-percent loss for the day on the three major indexes. For the week: the Dow gained 0.4 percent, the Nasdaq rose 1.7 percent. Stocks will likely remain volatile over the next several days as the deadline to fix the cliff approaches. Still, the declines on Friday could have been much worse. That suggests investors believe the U.S. economy will survive even without a December deal. Underscoring that belief: orders for large ticket items rose last month and consumer spending jumped the most in three years. But consumer confidence fell more than expected in December. Meantime, the National Rifle Association called on Congress to take immediate action on another serious matter. For the first time since the Connecticut school shootings last week, the NRA spoke out about the tragedy. Vice President Wayne LaPierre blamed violent video games, the news media and ineffective police action for the shootings not guns. SOUNDBITE: WAYNE LAPIERRE, VICE PRESIDENT, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I call on Congress today to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation, and to do it now to make sure blanket safety is in place when our kids return to school in January." Shares of two large gunmakers fell Friday. Smith and Wesson lost about two-percent; Strum Ruger down slightly. Wrapping up with Europe, stocks fell on concerns about the U.S. fiscal cliff.