Fiscal Cliff Hopes Spur the Dow's Gains

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We're on the final day of Fiscal Cliff Watch before America careens straight off the edge, but small flickers of hope surrounding a potential deal have the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) up on the final day of 2012. As of 2:05 p.m., ET the Dow's risen to gains of 40 points, or 0.3%. Stocks are mostly in the green, and several big winners are keeping the Dow in positive territory to welcome in the new year.

Dealing at the deadline
Traces of a solution began to form today, as it was reported that politicians could be coming around to a deal involving tax increases for personal incomes  above $450,000 annually. With no word on what to do surrounding budget cuts, however, it's still doubtful that a meaningful solution to the fiscal cliff will be solved on the last day before cuts and tax increases come into effect tomorrow.

That didn't stop the Dow from turning upward on the news. Industrial giant Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) , as one of the more vulnerable Dow members to the fiscal cliff's potential damaging effects on the economy, has embraced the deal talks in gaining 2.3% today. Although Caterpillar's seen shares fall more than 7% over the course of 2012, a potential recession in the first few quarters of 2013 -- brought about by the fiscal cliff -- certainly wouldn't help turn the stock around. Fellow manufacturer Alcoa (NYSE: AA  ) has also seen shares rise to the tune of 1.1% gains.

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) has also managed to post gains near the top of the Dow leader board, as shares have risen 2.2%. Don't be fooled by the optimism, however -- HP's still facing trouble surrounding its Autonomy deal and subsequent writedown, which the  Department of Justice is now preparing to investigate. With the PC market in decline, the future looks grim for this beleaguered tech giant. For the year, shares of HP have plummeted in excess of 48%.

Among top risers, Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) and General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) , two further stocks that could benefit from avoiding the fiscal cliff, are posting gains of 1.3% apiece.

Caterpillar is the market share leader in an industry in which size matters, and its quality products, extensive service network, and unparalleled brand strength combine to give it solid competitive advantages. Read all about Caterpillar's strengths and weaknesses in our brand new report. Just click here to access it now.

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