The Dow Pushes Higher Despite European Woes


Economic news is making waves today, but it hasn't hit the Dow Jones Industrial Average yet. With investors and Wall Street still optimistic about a deal to solve the fiscal cliff in the near future, the Dow is up 20 points, or 0.1%, as of 2:15 p.m. EST. After a few lagging market sessions, tech is finally having a good day, although the index is split overall between gaining and falling stocks. Let's have a look at the Dow's biggest movers.

Italy sinking as tech rises
Europe's in turmoil again today, this time thanks to news coming out of Italy. Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti tried to downplay rumors of his resignation as Italy's stock index fell more than 2%. The economically troubled nation's bond yield surged again in Monday trading, and with Italy locked in recession yet again, the timing of the resignation rumors couldn't be worse for the debt-plagued country and the Eurozone at large.

The Dow is far more focused on the fiscal cliff, however -- and with little news from Washington, most stocks have barely budged today. Tech is soaring, however, led by Cisco's gains of 2.5%. The company maintained optimistic forward guidance of 5% to 7% annual long-term growth at its analyst day event last Friday -- a boon for investors, considering this stock's booming prior six months.

Hewlett-Packard has joined in on the tech surge, with shares up about 2.3%. Speculation has arisen today that investor Carl Icahn is establishing a position in the stock, although HP declined to comment on the matter. It's an important bit of hope for the company, considering the stock's recent nosedive, which was exacerbated by the multibillion-dollar Autonomy writedown and ensuing allegations of fraud.

Choppy waters beyond tech
Stocks are up and down outside of the tech sector. McDonald's is leading all non-tech stocks higher on the Dow, with shares up 1.3%. The fast-food chain today reported global same-store sales growth of 2.4% last month and topped analyst expectations for sales trends, turning around the company after seeing monthly sales decline in October.

On the losing side of the index, Home Depot leads all Dow laggards by a large margin, with shares sinking 1.9%. With new-home sales rising in 2012, today's blip is just a small stain on the year for Home Depot. The stock is up more than 50% year to date.

Financial stocks JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America have also fallen slightly today after the sector was weighed down by AIG's report of higher-than-expected insurance claims in the fallout of Hurricane Sandy. The insurer has lost more than 2% on the day.

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Dan Carroll has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of American International Group, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and McDonald's and has the following options: long JAN 2014 $25.00 calls on American International Group. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend American International Group, The Home Depot, and McDonald's. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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