Fiscal-Cliff Hope Boosts Stocks

We're now exactly two weeks from the so-called "fiscal cliff," and with a lack of exciting economic news for traders to worry about, we're back to trading negotiation rumors. Today the news is positive after both President Obama and Speaker Boehner appeared to give a little on their positions over the weekend. This has helped push the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) up 0.53% with 40 minutes left in the session, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) is up 0.81%, led by financials.

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) and JP Morgan (NYSE: JPM  ) are up 3.1% and 1%, respectively, on hope for a deal. Yesterday I said these two stocks would be ones to watch this coming week because economic data regarding housing and the fiscal cliff will be the talk of Wall Street. For now, the cliff talk has been good for these stocks, but there's growing worry that housing data may not be strong, so stay tuned tomorrow.

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.

Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) has gained 0.75% today after stealing headlines about its iPhone 5 prices this weekend. The company is selling the 16 GB iPhone 5 for $127 -- well below Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) retail store price -- and has said it will sell the 16 GB iPad for $399. Wal-Mart worked with Apple on the pricing in a move that breaks with Apple's standard pricing policy. It's also noteworthy that Wal-Mart is working with Apple while shunning the Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) Kindle that's much more in line with the price point of Wal-Mart's deal-seeking customers.

On the downside, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) fell 4.1% after an analyst from Deutsche Bank said that a breakup of the company would destroy value. The stock has been on a tear since rumors started spreading that activist investor Carl Icahn may be eyeing a stake in the company. But this drop shows just how fast profit can disappear when you chase speculation. I still think it's safer on the sidelines of this risky PC play right now.

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