Stocks continued their slide in a shortened Christmas Eve trading session as hope dimmed that Washington would fix the fiscal cliff before year's end.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 38 points, or 0.3%, to 13,152 shortly after the opening bell on Wall Street. Volumes were expected to be light in the holiday session.
The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 4 points, or 0.3%, to 1,426. The technology-heavy Nasdaq was down 9 points, or 0.3%, to 3,012.
After Speaker John Boehner's "Plan B" flopped in the U.S. House, investors have become more pessimistic about the chances that Congress and President Obama would resolve the so-called fiscal cliff by Dec. 31.