If you were just watching economic and fiscal indicators, you might think that stocks should be moving higher today. But alas, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) has fallen 0.45%, and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) is down 0.3% with 30 minutes left in the trading day.
Greece's institutional lenders agreed to a deal that would grant the country 44 billion euros in bailout money. The Conference Board also said its Consumer Confidence Index rose to 73.7 in November, the highest level since February 2008. These positive developments have been overshadowed by more fears about the fiscal cliff and falling energy prices.
Oil has fallen 0.6% to $87.22, and this is helping to push energy stocks lower. ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) is down 0.9% today, and Chevron (NYSE:CVX) has fallen 1.25% today. An inventory report due tomorrow is expected to show a sharp rise in inventories, largely due to increased drilling here in the U.S.
But energy stocks aren't the biggest losers on the market today. Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) is down 2.45% after the former CEO of Autonomy, which was recently written down by HP, wrote an open letter blasting the company. What we know for sure is that the HP-Autonomy situation is a complete mess, and it must make investors wary of buying the stock anytime soon.
Play it safe into the fiscal cliff
The fiscal-cliff debate will no doubt dominate the market's sentiment for at least the next month, but investors with a long-term view can still find great buys during the turmoil, particularly in dividend stocks.