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Overnight Markets: Wall Street jumps on "cliff" deal hopes

Overnight Markets: Wall Street jumps on "cliff" deal hopes

Wall Street surged on the last day of the year by the most since 1974, with the Standard & Poor's 500 Index registering a gain of 13.4% in 2012, as lawmakers in Washington moved closer to a resolution to the "fiscal cliff" negotiations.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 166 points, or 1.28%, to end at 13,104. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 24 points, or 1.69%, to finish at 1,426. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 59 points, or 2%, to close at 3,020. The Dow rose 7.3% in 2012 and the Nasdaq climbed 15.9%.

Stocks oscillated yesterday on the headlines out of Washington, as both President Barack Obama and Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell issued statements signalling a deal to avert the cliff was close.

Sources said an emerging deal, if adopted by Congress and President Obama, would raise $600 billion in revenue over the next 10 years by increasing tax rates for individuals making more than $400,000 and households earning above $450,000 annually.

Financials were the strongest gainer this year, led by Bank of America shares, which more than doubled. However, defensively oriented utilities ended the year lower, falling 2.9%.

Yesterday, Apple Inc shares rose 4.4%, helping lift the information technology sector and the Nasdaq. For the year, Apple gained 31.4%, ending with a market value of about $501.4 billion.

Facebook Inc. climbed 2.7% after Bank of Montreal raised its rating on the company to outperform from underperform.

Hewlett-Packard gained 4.2% for the biggest gain in the Dow. Caterpillar jumped 3.2%, while General Electric Co. advanced 2.7%.

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Profile: The opportunity set that attracted Brett Williams to wealth management

Profile: The opportunity set that attracted Brett Williams to wealth management

Brett Williams is best known for helping to build some of the biggest platforms in the IFA market.He made the move over to wealth management to head SEI’s UK business earlier this year in the belief that this is where the best opportunities now lie.

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