Stocks fall... Oil drops slightly ... Obama and congressional leaders meet

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are dropping again on Wall Street as investors lose hope that Washington will meet a self-imposed deadline for reaching a budget deal by year-end. The five-day losing streak for the Dow Jones industrial average was the longest since July. The Dow lost 158 points to close at 12,938 today. The S&P 500 fell 15 points and the Nasdaq dropped 25 points.

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil fell slightly today, as the stock market drifts lower and efforts continue in Washington to strike a budget deal before the year-end deadline. U.S. benchmark crude fell 7 cents to finish at $90.80 a barrel. Traders are also weighing rising energy supplies. The Energy Department says crude supplies fell last week but were still 13 percent above year-ago levels.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama and congressional leaders are making a final stab at compromise to prevent the nation from falling off the "fiscal cliff" at the turn of the new year. Obama met at the White House today with House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. The meeting lasted a little over an hour and neither the president nor the four lawmakers spoke with reporters after the session.

NEW YORK (AP) — A deal has been struck that for now averts a strike by longshoremen at major ports on the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico. A federal mediator announced today that an expired contract for 14,500 union workers would be extended until early February while negotiations continue. The mediator says there have been major steps forward toward resolving the dispute.

NEW YORK (AP) — Some customers of the failed brokerage MF Global could get back all the money they lost, according to the trustee working to recover those funds. That comes a week after an agreement between the trustee of MF Global's main brokerage unit and the trustee of its British operations. The two sides agreed to resolve all claims between them, which should free up an extra $500 million to $600 million to return to customers of MF Global.

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