- - Wednesday, December 26, 2012

NEW YORK — Stocks are closing lower after a weak holiday shopping report sent shares of major retailers lower.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 24 points to close at 13,114 Wednesday. It was the third straight loss for the Dow.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell six to 1,419 and the Nasdaq composite lost 22 to 2,990.

The MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse report found that sales of electronics, clothing, jewelry and home goods increased just 0.7 percent in the two months before Christmas.

That’s well below the growth of 3 percent to 4 percent analysts expected and the worst performance since 2008.

Macy’s, Sears and Urban Outfitters all fell.

Falling stocks outnumbered rising ones 2-to-1 on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was very low at 2.3 billion shares.

CHINA

New high-speed train cuts 1,428-mile trek to 8 hours

BEIJING — China opened the world’s longest high-speed rail line Wednesday, one that more than halves the time required to travel from the country’s capital in the north to Guangzhou, an economic hub in southern China.

The opening of the 1,428 mile-line was commemorated by the 9 a.m. departure of a train from Beijing for Guangzhou. Another train left Guangzhou for Beijing an hour later.

China has massive resources and considerable prestige invested in its showcase high-speed railways program.

Trains on the latest high-speed line initially will run at 186 mph with a total travel time of about eight hours. Before, the fastest time between the two cities by train was more than 20 hours.

TRANSPORTATION

Berkshire Hathaway sells two short-line railroads

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