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Overnight Markets: 'Cliff' solution hopes lift US stocks

Financial stocks rose the most, while video-game makers and retailers fell.

Overnight Markets: 'Cliff' solution hopes lift US stocks

Wall Street bounced back on Thursday after House Speaker John Boehner said he expects to keep working on a solution to the "fiscal cliff" with President Barack Obama.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 60 points, or 0.45%, to 13,312 at the close. The S&P 500 rose eight points, or 0.55%, to 1,444. The Nasdaq Composite climbed six points, or 0.20%, to 3,050.

Boehner said he hoped to continue to work with Obama, but slammed the president and Senate Democrats for trying to "slow walk" the country over the fiscal cliff. Despite the slow progress, investors have hoped for an agreement soon between policymakers.

Meanwhile, economic data yesterday showed the U.S. economy grew 3.1% in the third quarter, faster than previously estimated, while the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits increased more than expected in the latest week.

Financial stocks rose the most, while video-game makers fell amid growing concerns about possible links between violent games and tragedies like the school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

Electronic Arts Inc. fell 3.2%, Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. fell 2.4% and GameStop Corp. slid 5.2%.

In the retail sector, Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. lost 6.5% after it projected full-year profit that trailed analysts’ estimates.

NYSE Euronext was the biggest gainer at the S&P with a 34% jump after IntercontinentalExchange Inc said it would buy the operator of the New York Stock Exchange for $8.2 billion. ICE shares shot up 1.4%.

Rite Aid Corp. soared 16% after the third-largest U.S. drugstore chain forecast better full-year results and returning to a profit in the third quarter.

Herbalife lost 9.6% following news that hedge fund manager Bill Ackman was betting against the company.

Existing home sales surged 5.9% in November, more than expected, and by the fastest monthly pace in three years. However, KB Home slid 6.4% as the company reported higher homebuilding costs and expenses in the fourth quarter.

Accenture fell 2% after revenue from technology consulting declined 3.6% from a year earlier. Merck & Co. slipped 3.4% after saying it won’t seek U.S. marketing approval for a cholesterol drug.

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5 comments so far. Why not have your say?

joe stalin

Dec 21, 2012 at 08:24

Why the fiscal cliff will no doubt continue to fascinate the financial media until something else can be found it is little more than noise. In the event the legislators don't manage to cobble a compromise together well everybody I. The US will have to cough up and that will see a compromise and probably will not have the impact the media cassandras predict, A recession would seem unlikely given the momentum we have already seen. What we have now is the usual market manipulation ahead of the options expiration this morning which no doubt will be followed by window dressing. The FTSE has gone up 6 percent this year which nothing short of remarkable given the hysteria we have been bombarded with over Greece Spain Italy Portugal and the cliff. Banks have doubled , housing building stock likewise. It has been a brilliantly year for the stock pickers . Ignore the media's garbage and keep picking.

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Anonymous 1 needed this 'off the record'

Dec 21, 2012 at 10:34

Dear joe stalin,

Even Joseph Stalin recognised a custom of giving gifts (though not to people in gulags it must be said)

What are your stock you picked this year and you are happy with or you think will perform better ?

Thanks for your gift.

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joe stalin

Dec 21, 2012 at 10:45

I have had Lloyds, RBS, Persimmon,Taylor Wimpey, Galliford Try, Prudential, Fortune Oil, as my champs and Man Group, Premier Oil, BP, Aviva ,Capital and Regional aand BTG s my chumps.

Sticking with the banks and the house builders and Fortune may get out of BP but will probably add to my BTG even though I am nervous about the company's management using as a cash machine.

I don't think things will be too bad next year but then my crystal ball is as good as anyone else's.

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Dec 22, 2012 at 02:26

Joe, BTG a cash machine?? Never paid a divi, and no talk of it and my original investment in Proteus @96p and Protherics (it's successor) in '95 and add ons (rights issues, etc), I am sort of in credit, £1k up.

One of the holdings to go when I start tidying up, in the absence of material movement.

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joe stalin

Dec 22, 2012 at 12:59

What I meant by cash machine is that the directors seem to be using it as such whenever they seem to need some dosh

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