US stocks opened mostly lower Friday, extending two days of heavy losses, as concerns about the looming “fiscal cliff” at year-end continued to grip Wall Street.

Traders awaited President Barack Obama's first major post-election statement later Friday, in which he is expected to lay out his plan to avert the automatic spending cuts and tax increases that could drive the economy back into recession.

In opening trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 19.81 points (0.15 percent) at 12,791.51.

The S&P 500-stock index edged down 0.14 (0.01 percent) to 1,377.37, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite added 3.15 (0.11

percent) at 2,898.73.

“Concerns about the prospect of a fiscal cliff compromise and renewed worries about a eurozone breakup, which are rooted in brinkmanship over additional aid for Greece, continue to weigh heavily on sentiment,” said Patrick O'Hare at

“The fiscal cliff factor, though, is superseding all else as a major market driver.” - Sapa-AFP