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Fiscal-Cliff Optimism Continues as the Dow Climbs

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Hope for an eventual solution to the fiscal cliff lives on this week, kicking the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) higher. As of 2:30 p.m. EST, the Dow has risen 50 points, or 0.38%. Most stocks on the index are trending higher, with just seven of the Dow's members in the red today. Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) is having a real doozy of a day, however, while one sector's successes are countering the beleaguered tech giant's losses.

Doom and gloom for HP
Embattled tech stock HP is down another 4% on the day. While speculation has taken off that investor Carl Icahn could move in on HP and take a big stake to push for breaking up the company, an analyst from Deutsche Bank isn't so sure that would be a good move. Analyst Chris Whitmore said today that breaking up the company would destroy shareholder value and cede market share to rivals. Considering how much shareholder value HP has already destroyed over the last few years, it seems nothing's going right for the company.

Other laggards include Intel (NASDAQ: INTC  ) , which is battling an ongoing decline in the PC market, and Alcoa (NYSE: AA  ) , which cautiously awaits the arrival of the fiscal cliff. Each stock is down about 0.7% today.

Financials and housing on the upswing
Fortunately for investors, most stocks are in the green today. Financials are leading the Dow up, with Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) and JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM  ) making respective gains of 2.7% and 0.7%. Financials are on pace to outperform the market for the first time since the recession, and Bank of America has been leading the way. The stock has surged more than 82% year to date, strengthening capital positions and carrying out what's been an unbelievably good year for investors.

Home Depot (NYSE: HD  ) also ranks among the top Dow stocks today, with shares up 1.5%. The stock's been taking off recently with the housing market's rebound, and it's up more than 47% year to date. If housing continues to surge in 2013 -- especially if the fiscal cliff is resolved before its punitive actions come into effect -- Home Depot could be headed to even more lucrative gains.

Among other gainers, Traveler (NYSE: TRV  ) and American Express (NYSE: AXP  ) have also been helped by fiscal-cliff optimism today, up 0.9% and 0.8%, respectively.

Bank of America has exploded in 2012, rewarding shareholders with outstanding returns. Is it too late to get in on the action, or can B of A continue its run? 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.

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