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After weeks of making little progress on resolving the fiscal cliff, a meeting between the President and the Speaker of the House today has ignited hopes that a long-awaited solution to the impasse could finally be getting closer. With many investors having expected that going over the cliff was a foregone conclusion, stocks showed their surprise by shooting higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) climbing more than 100 points and broader market measures finishing with better than 1% gains.
The financial sector certainly played its part in pulling the Dow higher, with both Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) and JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM ) among the average's best percentage gainers. B of A in particular rose 4% to hit the $11-per-share mark, as figures on delinquency rates in November showed that B of A saw rare reductions last month. JPMorgan's delinquencies rose slightly, but both banks had reduced charge-off figures, pointing to somewhat stronger credit performance among consumers.
Home Depot (NYSE: HD ) gained 2%. With concerns that the fiscal cliff might put an end to the recent rise in the housing market, successful negotiations could reinvigorate Home Depot's bull run over the past several years. With key housing data coming out over the next several days, though, Home Depot's push higher today could be vulnerable if the news isn't as positive as many investors hope.
Finally, General Electric (NYSE: GE ) jumped about 1.5% on news that it expects flat to 5% growth in revenue next year, as falling wind turbine sales are offset by industrial equipment demand. GE is also reportedly close to buying privately held Italian aerospace parts manufacturer Avio. The move, which Reuters says would be in the neighborhood of $4 billion, would bolster GE's presence in the booming aerospace industry and potentially support its growth going forward.
Can industrials lead the way?
The Dow Jones Industrials aren't really just industrials anymore, but sometimes, the average's veterans step up. GE, for instance, has made many moves recently to bolster its core industrial operations. Get the whole scoop on how GE will profit from its return to its traditional business by reading the Fool's premium report on the stock. Inside, you'll find reasons to buy or sell GE, and you'll receive continuing updates as major events unfold during the year. To get started, click here now.