Even with fiscal cliff talks grinding on with no definitive end in sight, markets rose on Monday, with technology stocks emerging as the big winners of the day.
While Erskine Bowles, co-chair of the well-known Bowles-Simpson 2010 debt commission, put the odds of averting the fiscal cliff before the new year at a meager 35%, Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) and other tech stocks still led the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) higher. The Dow climbed 14 points, or 0.11%, to close the day at 13,169.
Cisco investors cheered the company's new marketing campaign, titled "Tomorrow Starts Here," intended to show Cisco's focus on innovation and growth moving forward. It led the Dow today with 2.3% gains.
While the top three Dow stocks today were all techies, Home Depot (NYSE:HD) was the index's most abysmal performer, falling more than 2% on a pullback. Shares are up 50% this year in a rapidly revitalizing housing market.
AIG (NYSE:AIG) shares are in the spotlight in the aftermarket today. The U.S. Treasury announced that it will liquidate its 16% stake in the massive financial institution, which required upwards of $180 billion from the government in the depths of the recession to stay afloat. The 16% ownership amounts to just over $8 billion in equity, and shares shed more than 1% after hours on the news.
Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), China's largest search giant, also got in on the tech rally, tacking on nearly 2.7%. With Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) more or less not a major player in China because of significant disagreements with the Chinese government over censorship, Baidu is reaping the rewards. Baidu's local results have also helped it retain market share leads in the rapidly growing Eastern power.