Why the Dow Closed the Week on a Strong Note

For once in recent history, the "fiscal cliff" wasn't a drag on stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) gained 45 points, or 0.37%, to close the week at 12,588. An optimistic report from House Speaker John Boehner (R), after a meeting with President Obama, about a resolution to the $607 billion in spending cuts and tax increases set to take effect in January, was enough to boost stocks. 

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) was not lucky enough to partake in the market's comeback today, and led the Dow down, falling more than 1.7%. The PC and printer maker was hurt by a weak quarterly report from Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) , which reported that earnings fell nearly 50%. As competitors, this poor Dell performance doesn't bode well for the future of HP's success.

Alcoa (NYSE: AA  ) , however, was one of 22 stocks to lead the Dow's surge today; it gained almost 1.5% to lead the index. Alcoa would like to see the fiscal cliff get resolved sooner rather than later, and any progress toward a deal will be good news for the aluminum giant.

Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  ) , despite relatively little news about the company today, gained 0.85% on the day to outperform the index. With a dividend around 3.7%, it's still looking like a solid investment. Despite the fact that many lucrative Pfizer drugs are coming off patent (or already have), shares are up more than 14% in 2012, and more than 26% in the past year. In contrast, the Dow is up 3% YTD and 5.7% in the past year. 

The Irish-based biotech Amarin (Nasdaq: AMRN  ) has experienced above average volatility ever since the company received FDA approval for its drug Vascepa, which lowers triglyceride levels. Unfortunately, the stock fell more than 3.5% today; but stay tuned with this stock, because it will probably remain volatile for some time as buyout rumors abound.

The biotech space can make or break investors overnight and, while Amarin might not disappear into thin air, the success of its new triglyceride-lowering drug is key to the company's future success or failure. The company has huge potential, but don't invest a dollar before reading everything you need to know about Amarin. You can start now with top Fool.com analyst Max Macaluso's premium research report. Click here now to keep reading.


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