By DAVID K. RANDALL and MATTHEW CRAFT
NEW YORK – Stocks are mixed in afternoon trading as investors weighed the impact of President Barack Obama’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year.
Obama unveiled a $3.73 trillion budget Monday that includes a five-year freeze on many domestic spending programs. The White House contends the budget plan for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 puts the government on course to cut deficits by about $1.1 trillion over the coming decade.
Republicans and Democrats have sparred over how much spending to cut. The worry is that slashing spending could imperil the economic recovery.
Bond prices held steady after details of the budget proposal were revealed. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was 3.62 percent, slightly lower than late Friday. A jump in Treasury bond yields would suggest that investors see U.S. debt as increasingly risky.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. dropped 1.4 percent after analysts at JPMorgan downgraded the company. The analysts say the world’s largest retailer risks losing customers as low-income customers head to dollar stores and better-off shoppers return to more expensive ones.
Verizon Communications Inc. also lost 1.4 percent. Verizon and Wal-Mart were the weakest stocks among the 30 that make up the Dow Jones industrial average.
MGM Resorts International Inc. fell 3.3 percent after reporting a loss of $139 million last quarter, a little narrower than analysts had expected
The Dow fell 6 points, or 0.1 percent, to 12,266. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose less than a point to 1,331. The Nasdaq composite gained 6 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,815.
Stocks ended last week with a moderate gain after the resignation of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. Both the Dow and S&P 500 rose to their highest levels since June 2008.
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