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Stocks edge lower after weak manufacturing report

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are mostly lower in midday trading following an unexpected contraction in U.S. manufacturing last month. Concerns about automatic tax increases in the New Year caused factory orders to decline.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 21 points to 13,004 shortly before noon Monday.

The Standard and Poor's 500 was flat at 1,416. The Nasdaq composite rose 3 points to 3,013.

The Institute for Supply Management reported that U.S. manufacturing declined in November.

Businesses expressed concerns about the “fiscal cliff,” a series of sharp government spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to start Jan. 1 unless an agreement is reached to cut the budget deficit.

Supervalu rose following a report that private equity firm Cerberus is considering options for buying parts of the struggling grocery store chain.

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