This morning, Speaker of the House John Boehner proved that he would be willing to compromise with the Democrats in order to avoid the fiscal cliff. The top Republican lawmaker said he would be willing to increase taxes on those Americans making more than $1 million a year. President Obama is pushing for tax increases on those making more than $250,000, so Boehner's move could indicate that the actual tax threshold may be higher than Obama would like but low enough to still affect a many Americans.
But regardless of which income levels will see tax raises, the announcement shows progress and suggests that a compromise is possible. That promise for a deal is the reason the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is rallying today. As of 12:40 pm EST, the Dow is up 84 points, or 0.564%, to 13,219. Only four of the Dow's 30 components are currently trading in the red. The three biggest losers of the day are Verizon (NYSE:VZ), Alcoa (NYSE:AA), and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ).
So why are they down?
Shares of Verizon are down 0.4% today following the announcement that Clearwire has agreed to sell nearly half of its company and full ownership of its spectrum to Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S). The move will make Sprint more of a competitor in a wireless-services industry that is currently an effective duopoly. Sprint recently received a major cash infusion when SoftBank agreed to purchase a majority stake in the company -- a deal that has given Sprint the money and balance sheet to make more big moves and pose a threat to Verizon and AT&T (NYSE:T) in the future.
Aluminum giant Alcoa is trading lower by 0.5% today. My Foolish colleague Dan Caplinger noted this morning that after last week's 3% move higher, the company needs the price of aluminum to increase in order to keep the rally going. If investors believe the demand for aluminum will increase, but the price of the metal doesn't reflect those beliefs, then Alcoa's stock price will continue to struggle.
Shares of Hewlett-Packard are down 4% today after one analyst crushed investor's hopes that the company may be the next target of activities investors. Chris Whitmore, an analyst for Deutsche Bank, released his thoughts on Hewlett-Packard and how breaking the company into smaller pieces would ultimately destroy shareholder value. This comes after rumors circled last week that Carl Icahn was interested in the company, which pushed the PC manufacturer's shares higher by 6.9% during the last five trading sessions.