Stock Market Today Down on Taper Fears

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Stock Market News Today, Dec. 12: U.S. stocks are weighed today after having started the day higher on upbeat retail sales data. They retreated on more concerns that the U.S. Federal Reserve will scale back its $85-billion-per-month bond-buying stimulus program.

The S&P 500 today fell 0.38%, or 6.72 points, at 1,775.50, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.66%, or 104.03 points, at 15,739.50 points. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.14%, or 5.41 points, at 3,998.40.

Retail sales rose 2.2% in November from a year prior and up 0.8% from October, according to U.S. Department of Commerce data released today. In other economic indicators today, initial claims for unemployment rose to the highest level in two months, up 68,000 last week to 368,000.

In significant stocks news today, Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) is up 5% today after word that the stock will replace Teradyne Inc. (NYSE: TRA) in the S&P 500.

Energy Stock News Today: Natural Gas Rallies

In energy news, natural gas prices have spiked today, up about 2% after U.S. Energy Information Administration data revealed that supplies of natural gas were down 81 billion cubic feet last week. Natural gas for January delivery is up 1.7% at $4.41 per million BTUs.

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Meanwhile, light sweet crude oil for January is up 0.2% at $97.67 per barrel.

In other energy stock news today, Cenovus Energy Inc. (NYSE: CVE) is down about 1% after it said it plans to invest between $2.8 billion to $3.1 billion next year, down 13% from this year. It expects oil production of between 190,000 and 208,000 barrels per day next year, up about 10% from what's expected this year.

Consumer Stocks Today: Southwest Upgraded to Buy

In consumer earnings, Lululemon Athletica Inc. (Nasdaq: LULU) has plunged about 11% today after the athletic apparel retailer reported Q3 revenue of $379.9 million, better than the $376 million analysts expected. Earnings were $0.45, versus the $0.41 per share expectation on the Street.

Lululemon made headlines earlier this week as its chairman and founder stepped down after making controversial remarks about its fitted apparel not being suitable for every body type. The company expected $535 to $540 million in Q4 revenue, below the $573 million the Street expected.

And Coldwater Creek (Nasdaq: CWTR) is up about 1% today after it reported an adjusted third-quarter net loss of $0.79 per share, expanded from a loss of $0.45 per share a year prior but better than the $0.89 per share the Street expected.

In other consumer stocks news today, Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) is up about 4% in afternoon trade after the stock was upgraded to a Buy from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch. Shares hit a day high of $18.75, near its 52-week high of $18.98.

Finally, SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: SEAS) is down about 2% today after it priced an underwritten offering of 18 million common shares at $30 each. SEAS hit a low today of $29.33, trading in a 52-week range of $27.48 to $39.65.

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