Fiscal-Cliff Progress Sends the Dow Roaring Higher


It's a full-on fiscal-cliff rally on the markets today, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is on a tear. As of 2:15 p.m. EST, the Dow has surged to gains of 116 points, or 0.9%, to eclipse the 13,300 mark. Only four stocks are in the red today, and half of the index's members are sitting on gains of more than 1%.

Optimism at last on the fiscal cliff
Industrial stocks threatened by the fiscal cliff's coming are rallying today after House Republicans announced continued negotiations while working on an alternative solution to the measure. Dow members Caterpillar and Alcoa have picked up 1.5% and 1.3%, respectively. With both stocks down around 5% for the year, a coming solution to the fiscal cliff could breathe some optimism back into the shares.

Industrial conglomerate United Technologies and aerospace manufacturer Boeing have also gotten in on the sector's rally, gaining 2.8% and 1.4%, respectively. Between an improving economy and housing's rebounding fortunes, avoiding the fiscal cliff could be the last big step to prepare industrial stocks for a great start to 2013.

Health care insurer UnitedHealth Group is also having a solid day, up more than 1% so far. UnitedHealth and fellow insurers are threatened by the decline in Medicare payouts that would accompany the fiscal cliff's passing, which could threaten their revenues and margins in the near future.

GE can't get a grip
There are few losers on the Dow today, but General Electric is bound and determined not to participate in the rally. Shares of the massive conglomerate are down 2% -- more than 1.4% lower than the next-biggest loser, Verizon . Rumors are swirling that GE may look to acquire Italian aerospace parts manufacturer Avio in what could be a multibillion-dollar purchase. Between that, GE's lowered guidance for full-year 2012 sales, and CEO Jeffrey Immelt's statement that fiscal-cliff fears hurt this year's business, it's a turbulent day for investors in this company.

The recent financial crisis dealt GE a blow, but management took advantage of the market's dip to make strategic bets in energy. GE investors need to understand how these bets could drive this company to become the world's infrastructure leader. At the same time, you need to be aware of the threats to GE's portfolio. To help, we're offering comprehensive coverage in a premium report on General Electric, in which our industrials analyst breaks down GE's multiple businesses. You'll find reasons to buy or sell GE, and you'll receive continuing updates as major events unfold throughout the next year. To get started, click here now.

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