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The close: S&P 500 hits three-month low Add to ...

Stocks fell on Tuesday after failing to hold onto a midday rebound, sending the U.S. benchmark index to a three-month low.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 12,756.18, down 58.90 points or 0.5 per cent – and more than 140 points below its intraday high. The broader S&P 500 closed at 1374.53, down 5.50 points or 0.4 per cent. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 12,134.66, down 56.80 points or 0.5 per cent.

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Major indexes had begun the day in the red, largely weighed down by ongoing concerns about whether U.S. politicians will be able to avoid the looming fiscal cliff of automatic tax increases and spending cuts. They rebounded by midday but dipped back into negative territory in the final hour of trading.

Home Depot Inc. rose 3.6 per cent, for the biggest gain within the 30-member Dow, after it reported a 1.4 per cent gain in its quarterly earnings, topping analysts’ estimates.

However, Microsoft Corp. fell 4 per cent after the head of its Windows division, Steven Sinofsky, stepped down very soon after the launch of Windows 8.

In Canada, Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. rose 3.3 per cent after reporting $168-million in quarterly earnings, down from $172-million a year earlier. Adjusted earnings were in line with analysts’ estimates.

Key commodities moved slightly lower. Gold fell to $1,724.80 (U.S.) an ounce, down $6.10. Crude oil fell to $85.38 a barrel, down 19 cents.

Among Canadian commodity producers, Suncor Energy Inc. fell 2.5 per cent and Barrick Gold Corp. fell 1.3 per cent.

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