For once in recent history, the "fiscal cliff" wasn't a drag on stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) gained 45 points, or 0.37%, to close the week at 12,588. An optimistic report from House Speaker John Boehner (R), after a meeting with President Obama, about a resolution to the $607 billion in spending cuts and tax increases set to take effect in January, was enough to boost stocks.
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) was not lucky enough to partake in the market's comeback today, and led the Dow down, falling more than 1.7%. The PC and printer maker was hurt by a weak quarterly report from Dell (NASDAQ:DELL.DL), which reported that earnings fell nearly 50%. As competitors, this poor Dell performance doesn't bode well for the future of HP's success.
Alcoa (NYSE:AA), however, was one of 22 stocks to lead the Dow's surge today; it gained almost 1.5% to lead the index. Alcoa would like to see the fiscal cliff get resolved sooner rather than later, and any progress toward a deal will be good news for the aluminum giant.
Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), despite relatively little news about the company today, gained 0.85% on the day to outperform the index. With a dividend around 3.7%, it's still looking like a solid investment. Despite the fact that many lucrative Pfizer drugs are coming off patent (or already have), shares are up more than 14% in 2012, and more than 26% in the past year. In contrast, the Dow is up 3% YTD and 5.7% in the past year.
The Irish-based biotech Amarin (NASDAQ:AMRN) has experienced above average volatility ever since the company received FDA approval for its drug Vascepa, which lowers triglyceride levels. Unfortunately, the stock fell more than 3.5% today; but stay tuned with this stock, because it will probably remain volatile for some time as buyout rumors abound.