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After its worst two-day run in over a year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) managed a marginal gain today, moving up four points, or 0.03%. The blue chips were up about 80 points midway through the session, in part because consumer sentiment numbers from the University of Michigan hit another five-year high; but a speech by President Obama on the fiscal cliff seemed to sober up investors.
The so-called bundle of automatic tax increases and spending cuts that would go into effect at the new year without Congressional intervention, is a major reason that the Dow had tumbled more than 400 points in the previous two days. Speaking today, Obama seemed to signal a willingness to compromise, but it also appears that the issue of raising taxes on the wealthy will continue to divide the two parties. Obama said that "A majority of Americans agreed with my approach" on taxes, but House Speaker John Boehner, the Republican leader, countered that raising tax rates "will destroy jobs in America." Without a resolution on the fiscal cliff, the market is likely to continue to feel pressure over the coming weeks. Both Fitch and S&P have promised ratings cuts if nothing's done.
Disney (NYSE: DIS ) took a beating today, falling 6%, after a rough earnings report. The media conglomerate missed estimates, and said that ad sales at ESPN, one of its few growth engines thanks to its live programming, were slowing. Revenue at its film unit also declined, and even profit in its stake in Hulu dropped by 4.5%. The Olympics, televised on rival NBC's network, also seemed to put a dent in ratings on Disney's channels, which include ABC.
On the other side of the spectrum, shares of Boeing (NYSE: BA ) jumped 3.2%. The aircraft maker appears to be riding high after a string of new orders, and said it would top rival Airbus in that department this year for the first time since 2006. Boeing said as of November 6, it's received more than 1009 new orders for planes, nearly all of them 737s, while Airbus had only recorded 382 orders as of September 30. The aerospace giant may also have been buoyed by the strong consumer sentiment data, as well as a report showing wholesale inventories in September grew by more than expected, which could indicate an economic expansion.
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