It was a short week of trading because of the Thanksgiving holiday, but that doesn't mean there wasn't a lot of action on Wall Street. There was renewed confidence that Washington would get its act together long enough to come up with a deficit-reduction plan, there were hopeful signs for growth in Europe, and there was a temporary end to fighting in Israel. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) rose 3.3% for the week, and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) was up 3.6%.
Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) led the Dow by gaining 8.6% for the week. The megabank has huge upside if we avert the fiscal cliff and the economic recovery accelerates. There were signs this week that not only will we avoid the fiscal cliff, but also that the housing market is rapidly improving. These would be great for Bank of America and could continue to push the stock higher in the coming months.
Home Depot (NYSE:HD), meanwhile, was the second biggest winner on the Dow, rising 4.3% for the week. The home-improvement company is also benefiting from an improving housing market and more confidence in the economy.
Rounding out the top three on the Dow is American Express (NYSE:AXP). The stock rose 4.1% for the week, even though there wasn't any material news out about the company.
Early indications are that the holiday shopping season is going well, which could continue to push stocks higher. Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) said it had record Black Friday sales and online sales rose 20.7% from a year ago. Consumers' confidence is rising, and they're opening their wallets for the holidays.