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Stocks down as government default looms

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NEW YORK (AP) -

U.S. stocks are heading lower as lawmakers continue to work on a deal to avoid a U.S. default and reopen the government.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 39 points, or 0.3 percent, to 15,261 as of noon Tuesday.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down three points, or 0.2 percent, at 1,707. The Nasdaq composite index fell four, or 0.1 percent, to 3,809.

The U.S. is expected to reach its borrowing limit on Thursday, jeopardizing its ability to pay its bills. Meanwhile a partial shutdown of the federal government is in its 15th day.

Eight of the 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 fell, with the biggest declines in utilities and consumer discretionary stocks, a category that includes retailers.

Stocks were mostly higher in Europe.

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