Stocks are down on the first full trading day after Thanksgiving as investors watch lawmakers here and in Europe grapple with their respective fiscal issues. With roughly an hour left in the trading session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is down by 58 points, or 0.44%.
With no major economic releases due out today, investors remain concerned about the so-called fiscal cliff. On Monday, the President's Council of Economic Advisors released a report about the possible consequences of allowing the country to fall over the proverbial cliff. Among other things, the average family of four would see their annual tax bill increase by $2,200, and $200 billion in consumer spending would be lost. Earlier this month, the Congressional Budget Office predicted that the unemployment rate would likely rise above 9% as well.
Investors are also keeping a close eye on the ongoing negotiations in Europe over whether or not to release an additional tranche of support to Greece.
In terms of individual stocks, technology companies make up three out of the six Dow stocks that are higher today. The best-performing of the bunch is Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), up nearly 3% after its disappointing quarterly earnings report sent its stock reeling last week.
Shares in non-Dow e-tailer Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) are also up today. Following an upbeat Black Friday weekend, multiple sources are predicting higher holiday sales this year. To lure customers in on Cyber Monday, Amazon's homepage is advertising a litany of specials on televisions and e-readers, among other things.
Finally, shares in Knight Capital Group (NYSE: KCG) are sharply higher on rumors of a possible buyout by certain of its rivals. The market maker and high-frequency trader nearly went out of business earlier this year when a software glitch caused it to make bad trades worth hundreds of millions of dollars. In the aftermath, a consortium of lenders including Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) stepped in to prevent the company from failing.
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