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November 21 2012, 02:10AM

US stocks have opened lower after Hewlett-Packard reported a quarterly loss due in part to a massive writedown, offsetting fresh data signalling recovery in the housing market.

After a triple-digit gain on Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 52.60 points (0.41 per cent) to 12,743.36 in the first 15 minutes of trade.

The S&P 500-stock index dropped 4.17 points (0.30 per cent) to 1382.72, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite slipped 6.21 (0.21 per cent) to 2909.86.

Charles Schwab & Co analysts said stocks were lower after Dow member HP announced an $US8.8 billion ($A8.49 billion) charge related to alleged accounting improprieties at Autonomy Corp, which HP acquired in August 2011 for over $10 billion.

On Monday, stocks scored solid gains on upbeat housing data and hopes that politicians will find a way to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff" of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts in January.

The jump was underpinned by Apple, the most valuable public company, which took a 7.2 per cent bounce to $565.73, following weeks of losses.

The Dow rose 1.65 per cent, the S&P 500 added 1.99 per cent and the Nasdaq leapt 2.21 per cent.