Stocks tumble as ‘fiscal cliff’ deadline gets near

NEW YORK — Stocks fell for a fifth day on concern that Washington lawmakers will fail to reach a budget deal before a self-imposed year-end deadline. The five-day losing streak for the Dow Jones industrial average was the longest since July.

The Dow dropped 158.20 to 12,938.11, with losses accelerating in the last 20 minutes of trading as reports circulated that President Barack Obama would not be making a new budget proposal in a meeting with congressional leaders.

The S&P 500 fell 15.67 to 1,402.43, its longest losing streak in three months, and the Nasdaq dropped 25.59 points to 2,960.31.

“The reality, late in the day, is that a deal is just not going to get done,” said Ryan Detrick, a senior technical strategist at Schaeffer Investment Research. “We could be greeted by a big sell-off at the start of January.”

Champagne loses its fizz in Europe after hard year

PARIS — Europeans are finding fewer reasons to pop open a bottle of Champagne as another year of economic troubles and high unemployment saps the region’s appetite for the finer things. But while the latest industry figures show that sales might be on the wane in Europe, other markets, particularly Japan and the United States, are developing a taste for a glass of bubbly.

In what is certain to be bad news for the vineyards, France — Champagne’s largest market — is drinking fewer bottles. Sales of Champagne for the country were down 4.9 percent, and 5 percent elsewhere in the 27-country European Union, in the first nine months of 2012 compared with the same period in 2011, according to CIVC, the national association of growers and producers of the wine.

UK’s Pearson invests in Barnes & Noble’s Nook

LONDON — Pearson, the U.K. publisher and education company, is to take a 5 percent stake in Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-reader as technology companies seek new inroads into the potentially lucrative business of digital textbooks for schools.

Pearson PLC will pay $89.5 million cash for a 5 percent stake in Nook Media LLC which includes the bookseller’s e-reader and tablets, its digital bookstore and its 674 stores serving U.S. colleges. Barnes & Noble will hold 78.2 percent of the business and Microsoft will have about 16.8 percent, the company said Friday.

Government investigating U.K. business, HP says

NEW YORK — Autonomy, the British business software company now owned by Hewlett-Packard Co., is facing a Justice Department investigation over improper accounting under previous management, according to HP.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission late Thursday, HP said Justice officials had informed the company on Nov. 21 that they were opening an investigation into the allegations, which HP said in November that it had uncovered after a senior Autonomy executive came forward.

HP also reiterated that it provided information to the SEC and the U.K. Serious Fraud Office related to “accounting improprieties, disclosure failures and misrepresentations at Autonomy.” HP said it was cooperating with all three government agencies.

FDA clears anticlotting drug Eliquis by Squibb and Pfizer

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration says it has approved the anticlotting drug Eliquis, developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Pfizer Inc. It’s a potential blockbuster drug in a new category of medicines to prevent strokes.

The agency previously rejected the drug twice awaiting additional data from company trials.

The FDA cleared the pill for treating the most common type of irregular heartbeat — atrial fibrillation — in patients at risk for strokes or dangerous clots.

Wire reports