Coming off last week's 421-point gain, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) sputtered today, losing 42 points, or 0.3%. Concerns about the fiscal cliff returned along with Congress, which came back to Washington after Thanksgiving recess. Worries about a slow holiday season also sank some retailer stocks after heavy discounting on Black Friday; however, today's Cyber Monday specials from online vendors helped some notable e-tailers such as Amazon.com and eBay make strong gains. According to early results, Cyber Monday sales were 26% above last year's total.
The tech sector also made some gains, as the Nasdaq (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) improved by 0.3% on big gains from Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Apple. The social-networking king jumped a whopping 8.1% on upgrades from Topeka Capital Markets, Bernstein, and BTIG, and its new Gifts platform could also add on a solid chunk of revenue this holiday season. Apple also bounced back another 3.2% as Citigroup gave it a seal approval by reinitiating a buy rating.
On the Dow, PC-maker Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) led the way with a 2.4% gain as it continues to recover from the debacle over its Autonomy acquisition. A group of shareholders also announced they're suing the company over the $8.8 billion writedown.
At the other end of the spectrum, McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) fell 0.9% after Lazard Capital Markets downgraded it on rising competition and declining same-store sales in the near term. McDonald's has begun revamping its store designs domestically, but its shares have floundered this year, down 14%, amid a change in its leadership.
In late news, eurozone officials and the International Monetary Fund agreed to cut Greece's debt by 40 billion euros by 2020. The agreement should help pave the way to for an additional round of bailout funding, this time as much as 44 billion euros, in December. Among other decisions, the finance ministers agreed to cut the interest rate on loans to Greece and return 11 billion euros from earlier profits on purchases of Greek bonds. The news should help European stocks higher tomorrow.
Later in the week, figures on durable-goods orders and new-home sales, as well as the first revision in third-quarter GDP, should affect stocks.