The "fiscal cliff" is still garnering headlines nationwide, but markets have looked past that for now and are flat for a second straight day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is down a mere 11 points, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) has lost a fraction of a point near the end of trading.
Home Depot (NYSE:HD) was the big earnings news of the day, announcing a 4.3% increase in same-store sales. The stock has jumped 3.8% and could still have some room to run in a Sandy-fueled fourth quarter. Santa may be stuffing stockings with two-by-fours and Skilsaws in the Northeastern U.S. this holiday season, rather than electronics and candy, which would be a boost for Home Depot.
Disney (NYSE:DIS) was another big winner, jumping about 1.2% in a steady climb today. The company is coming off a tough earnings report, but the stock was beaten down more than it should have been last week, and investors are now jumping on this stock.
On the downside, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is being beaten up after the architect of Windows 8 decided to leave the company. Steven Sinofsky left without reason at a crucial time for the software maker, and this just adds questions about the company's strategy going forward. Sinofsky was rumored to be a CEO candidate and was a key contributor to the executive team. In a company the size of Microsoft, I don't think this is a terrible thing in the long term, but in the short term it will not be looked on positively by investors.