Congressional leaders met to discuss the fiscal cliff but the markets closed sharply lower with the Dow plunging 158 points to 12,938 as doubts mounted that a deal would be reached to avert tax increases and spending cuts. Nasdaq tumbled 25 points to 2960. On the upside
Herbalife (NYSE: HLF) continued climbing after the nutritional supplement company hired a strategic advisor to help address pyramid scheme allegations. Seeking Alpha wrote that LeapFrog (NYSE: LF) had the potential to double in 2013. Ford (NYSE: F) will spend approximately $773 million to expand capacity at six manufacturing facilities in Michigan. On the downside Shares of Amyris (Nasdaq: AMRS) continued falling after completing a $42.25 million private placement yesterday.Profit taking sank shares of BPZ Resources (NYSE: BPZ), whose stock price rose yesterday after closing the sale of a 49% stake in its offshore Block Z-1 to Pacific Rubiales Energy. Bloomberg wrote that Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) was the worst Dow component stock of 2012. In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on both the NYSE and on Nasdaq. The broader S&P 500 index fell 15 points to 1402.