Investor Confidence in Fiscal-Cliff Deal Pushes Stocks Higher

After a couple of weeks in the red, stocks are back in black in a big way to start a short trading week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) is up 1.4% as of 3:15 p.m. EST, while the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC  ) has risen 1.7%.

A different tone took shape in Washington over the weekend, giving investors confidence that the government may finally begin to productively address both short-term and long-term fiscal challenges. Furthermore, a report from the National Association of Realtors saying that existing-home sales rose 2.1% to 4.79 million in October added to investors' confidence.

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) is up 3.8% to lead the Dow today. This shouldn't surprise anyone watching markets lately, because the bank is often one of the biggest movers. Bank of America is one of the most "undervalued" banks based on a number of metrics, and if the economy recovers, the company's risky leveraged bets may pay off. This doesn't mean it's the best bank, but it will continue to outperform others if the fiscal cliff is averted and the housing market continues to improve.

To learn more about the most talked-about bank out there, check out our in-depth company report on Bank of America. The report details Bank of America's prospects, including three reasons to buy and three reasons to sell. Just click here to get access.

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) has jumped 2.65% the day before its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings report. There isn't any specific news driving the stock, but the bet is that a rebound may be in order.

The lone stock losing ground on the Dow today is Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) , the chip maker that can't seem to gain any traction at the moment. Today, the company announced that its CEO, Paul Otellini, will retire in May after a 40-year run with the company. This isn't necessarily a bad sign for the company, but it does bring in come uncertainty going forward.

In the commodity market, oil has jumped 2.8% today, driving energy stocks higher.


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