Stocks Turn Higher; Home Depot Rallies


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Wall Street shook off early losses and jumped into the green Tuesday, led by a strong performance across consumer discretionary and telecommunications stocks.

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Today's Markets

As of 11:07 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 80.5 points, or 0.63%, to 12896, the S&P 500 gained 8.5 points, or 0.63%, to 1389 and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 4.4 points, or 0.15%, to 2909.

The markets took a breather Monday, barely budging in holiday-thinned trade. However, activity picked up Tuesday. Every major sector was recently to the upside. Echoing the performance of the broad markets, Home Depot (NYSE:HD), AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) were among the best Dow performers.

Home Depot posted better-than-expected quarterly results on the top and bottom lines, helping to send its shares higher. However, on the other end of the spectrum, were technology stocks. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) slumped after a key Windows executive who was seen as a prime candidate for the chief executive role unexpectedly left. Other big-name tech companies like Cisco (NASDAQ:CSC) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) fell as well.

European, Fiscal Cliff Worries Linger

On the European front, a closely-watched indicator of German economic sentiment unexpectedly dropped in November. The ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment fell 4.2 points to -15.7. Economists expected a reading of -10. There have been worries brewing that the eurozone's debt crisis, coupled with other global headwinds, are beginning to take a toll on Europe's biggest economy that has so far been fairly resilient.

Eurozone finance ministers also gave Greece an extra two years to meet goals on slashing its budget deficit. However, disagreements between the European Union and International Monetary Fund have caused uncertainty over when the country will receive much-needed rescue aid. Without the aid, Greece is at risk of defaulting on its debt, the specter of which has roiled financial markets in the past.

The economic calendar remains fairly light on Tuesday, with a report on the U.S. budget deficit due at 2:00 p.m. ET. It is set to pick up later in the week with minutes from the Federal Reserve's last policy-setting meeting and data on retail sales, inflation and manufacturing.

Wall Street has also been paying close attention to Washington, D.C., with the fiscal cliff ticking closer every day. President Barack Obama is set to meet with labor leaders Tuesday and then with business leaders the following day to discuss the disagreements.

Commodities markets were lightly changed. The benchmark crude oil contract fell 21 cents, or 0.25%, to $85.35 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline dipped 0.58% to $2.661 a gallon.

In metals, gold slumped $2.30, or 0.13%, to $1,729 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.39% to 2464, the English FTSE 100 dipped 0.55% to 5735 and the German DAX dropped 0.83% to 7109.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 slipped 0.18% to 8661 and the Chinese Hang Seng sold off by 1.1% to 21189.

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