Markets are enjoying a day of healthy gains today, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) up 182 points as of 3:25 p.m. EST on continued optimism that Congress will be able to reach a deal and avoid the fiscal cliff that has dominated macro headlines of late. Stocks rallied at the end of last week for the same reason, and that momentum is carrying through today.
Tech heavyweights were driving gains throughout the sector, with Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) in particular soaring 6.8%. The Mac maker has been dogged by pessimism for the past two months, and shares have rallied over $33 today as the sell-off has gotten overdone, according to a number of Street analysts that defended Apple today.
Chip giant Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) says CEO Paul Otellini will retire in May -- a surprise decision from the executive, who has spent nearly 40 years at the company. Otellini was Intel's fifth CEO and has led the company since 2005, but now the company must face the transition to mobile devices, where it has a surprisingly small market share. Intel's board has begun to search for his successor and is considering both internal and external candidates. The Dow component's shares have lagged the market, down 0.25% as investors digest the uncertainty.
Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO ) said it was acquiring privately held Meraki, which makes networking devices that can be managed from the cloud, in a $1.2 billion deal to bolster the networking giant's cloud offerings. The deal is expected to close by January. Shares are up 1.8% near the end of today's session.
Shares of search giant Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) have rallied 3.2%, outperforming the broader market. The company inked a new licensing deal with European music publishers that greatly expands its content offerings. Google also saw a minor bump in its credit rating from S&P, which raised its rating from "AA-" to "AA" with a stable outlook.
The market is giving investors reasons to be thankful ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, with tech leading the way. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite is the best-performing index on a broadly positive day.
There is no denying that Apple is at the center of technology's largest revolution ever -- and that longtime shareholders have been handsomely rewarded with gains of more than 1,000%. However, there is a debate raging as to whether Apple remains a buy. The Motley Fool's senior technology analyst and managing bureau chief, Eric Bleeker, is prepared to let you know the reasons both to buy and to sell Apple, as well as what opportunities are left for the company (and, more importantly, your portfolio) going forward. To get instant access to his latest thoughts on Apple, simply click here now.