The first day of December trading followed a predictable trend: The markets were once again almost entirely at the mercy of rumors surrounding fiscal cliff talks. Today, even as the president hosted a question-and-answer session regarding the fiscal cliff on Twitter, the overall sentiment was pessimistic, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) fell about 60 points, or 0.46%, to settle at 12,965.
Despite the negative environment, Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) managed to be one of the few gainers in the Dow today, rising more than 0.7% on a Monday that saw 22 of 30 index components decline. Investors may still be applauding the acquisition of network solutions firm Cariden Technologies last week for about $140 million. While normally acquisitions slightly drag down shares in the acquiring company, Cisco traded higher on the news last week and also bought two other companies in November.
DuPont (NYSE:DD) was not so popular, losing more than 1.7% to lead the index lower. The company lost ground on the heels of disappointing manufacturing data that bodes poorly for the diversified materials company. The widely watched manufacturing index from the Institute for Supply Management unexpectedly fell to under 50% in November, showing a slowdown in activity.
Outside the Dow, software giant Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) made waves after hours by announcing that the company will be issuing a special, "accelerated" dividend in December in anticipation of higher corporate taxes in 2013. The $0.18 dividend will be in lieu of three $0.06 dividends for the second, third, and fourth quarters of the company's 2013 fiscal year.
Another technology company making (not-so-great) moves today was the online streaming company Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX). Shares tumbled 7% as investors weighed a Wall Street Journal piece on Sunday questioning the company's bold move into original programming -- a move that signals a continued push into an uber-competitive area with players such as HBO and Showtime.
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