Stocks are really starting to slide after hitting highs of the day earlier as we head into Friday afternoon trading.

The S&P 500 is down 1.3 per cent.

The oil and gas sector is leading shares lower, down 1.6 per cent, while consumer services stocks are down 1.5 per cent and financials are down 1.4 per cent. However, a few stocks are resisting the drop, with Nike shares trading up 5 per cent after positive earnings yesterday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is also off 1.3 per cent on the day, while the NASDAQ is down 1.4 per cent.

Below is a snapshot of the three major indices:

Stock markets

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Fiscal cliff concerns are definitely the big story today after Republican House Speaker John Boehner failed last night to get the votes he needed to pass “Plan B,” his latest offer in ongoing negotiations with the White House. 

The U.S. dollar index (shown below) is just off the highs, while the euro and gold are both falling.

USD index intradayDec 21

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Earlier today, economic data presented a mixed picture, but seemed to improve on balance. Durable goods orders were a positive surprise, as were personal income numbers. Personal spending rose in line with estimates, but the University of Michigan Consumer Confidence survey recorded a larger drop in sentiment than was expected. The Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index rose much more than expected, but failed to break into positive territory, indicating further contraction.

Elsewhere, Herbalife shares are getting slammed again today following hedge funder Bill Ackman’s brutal presentation explaining why he is short the stock.

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