Kate Gibson

NEW YORK: U.S. stocks fell hard on a report that President Barack Obama did not have a new offer to avert the so-called fiscal cliff in talks with congressional leaders Friday afternoon.

“There might be some last-minute Hail Mary resolution or a chance there is some tax agreement, but I don’t think there will be any spending agreement” before the end of the year, said Chip Cobb, portfolio manager at BMT Asset Management.

Equities extended a losing streak into a fifth session.

The Dow Jones industrial average shed 158.20 points, or 1.2 percent, at 12,938.11, off 1.9 percent from the week-ago close.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index shed 15.67 points, or 1.1 percent, at 1,402.43, leaving it with a weekly decline of 1.9 percent.

The Nasdaq composite index lost 25.59 points, or 0.9 percent, at 2,960.31, down 2 percent for the week.

For every stock rising, more than two fell on the New York Stock Exchange.

Republican and Democratic leaders met with Obama at the White House on Friday afternoon as talks continued to reach a deal to avert steep spending cuts and tax hikes.

The gathering included House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, both Republicans, as well as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, both Democrats.

The market, for the most part, is prepared for the budget drama to continue to play out into the first two to three weeks of 2013, according to Cobb. “What it’s not prepared for is if it’s February 15 and we’re still talking about this,” he said.

Equities had cut their losses after Bloomberg News reported Obama would propose a scaled-back offer.

The market continued its recent trend of offering little (if any) reaction to economic reports, as investors fixated on efforts to reach a budget agreement.