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The fiscal cliff dominated the conversation on Wall Street and led us almost nowhere by the end of the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) was up just 0.12% for the week, and the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) gained just 0.5%.
When you get past the fiscal-cliff headlines, the economic news was pretty strong this week. Third-quarter GDP growth was revised up to 2.7% from a previous estimate of 2%. Shopping numbers were also strong from Black Friday to Cyber Monday, a sign that consumers are opening their wallets again.
On the Dow, the big winner for the week was Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) , which gained 4.4%. But don't think that this week's gains mean the company is healthy again. HP's management is still in a war of words with Autonomy's former leadership over allegations of accounting problems before HP acquired the company. HP is a risky bet and is one stock I would stay away from, even if the short-term pops are tempting.
Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT ) was up 2.6% on the back of strong spending during the Black Friday weekend. Sales were up 12.8% for the weekend because retailers discounted heavily to attract shoppers. Wal-Mart has been one of the biggest discounters, so it remains to be seen whether this growth will help bottom-line results.
Rounding out the top three is drugmaker Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ) , which was up 2%. Investors are becoming more comfortable with the implementation of Obamacare and the impact on medical stocks going forward.
Strong economic data should be the long-term driver of stocks, so the weak stock performance this week is a great buying opportunity for investors.
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