US Debt Squabble Hurts Stocks

Posted November 21st, 2011 at 5:25 pm (UTC-5)
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The possible failure of negotiations aimed at slashing the massive U.S. debt discouraged investors Monday.

By the close of U.S. trading, stocks were off around 2 percent. European indexes were down more than 3 percent, while Asian stocks lost less.

Another key U.S. economic issue is the high unemployment rate. The jobless rate for veterans is even worse than that for the general population, prompting President Barack Obama to give final approval to a law that offers thousands of dollars in tax credits to employers who hire military veterans. The new law signed Monday gives its largest incentives to companies that hire veterans with service-related disabilities. Up to 1 million veterans will be entering the civilian workforce over the next five years.

The troubled U.S. housing sector got a small boost Monday. The National Association of Realtors says home sales rose 1.4 percent in October. The report covers previously owned homes, which make up the largest part of the market. If sales continue at October's rate for a full year, just under 5 million homes would change hands.

Severe problems in the housing market helped cause the financial crisis, and home prices have been falling since then.

A combination of low prices and low interest rates are helping the market recover slightly.

On Tuesday, government experts are expected to report that U.S. economic growth continued at a modest pace.