Stocks stayed all but flat in mid-Tuesday trading, with investor worries over the fiscal cliff balanced by some positive economic data.
The Conference Board revealed that its consumer confidence index rose to a four-and-a-half year high of 73.7 in November from an upwardly revised 73.1 in October. The consensus estimate had been a reading of 73.0
"An agreement to avert the fiscal cliff before year-end remains our central assumption, though it continues to look like a fairly close call given the political obstacles to a deal," wrote economists from Goldman Sachs economists in a note, according to The Street
. "If a deal is reached, we would expect a tax increase of a magnitude similar to the upper income tax cuts, though the composition might differ. Entitlement reforms also seem likely to be part of a package, particularly related to health programs. 'Downpayments' in both areas seem likely, with additional deficit reduction to be enacted in 2013 as part of a two-stage process."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average
(INDEXDJX:.DJI) was down 0.03% to 12,963.43 points as of 11:58 a.m. EST.
(NASDAQ:INTC) led all Dow gainers on the day, advancing 1.08% to $20.10. The stock fell to its lowest level in over 12 months last Wednesday on worries regarding its weakness in the mobile sector, but has climbed some 3.41% since.
(NYSE:KO) also inched up 1.03% to $37.75. The stock will go ex-dividend tomorrow, with shareholders as of market close today being eligible for a dividend of $0.26 per share.
Among decliners, Hewlett-Packard
(NYSE:HPQ) led the way, sliding 0.99% to $12.61. The stock, which collapsed after it revealed possible accounting improprieties at its Autonomy division, had climbed more than 8% since its recent low on November 26. However, HP encountered fresh troubles today after an investor sued the company, alleging that HP executives issued false and misleading statements with regards to the Autonomy fraud.
(NYSE:AXP) also dipped 0.77% to $55.26. Other top credit card companies, such as Capital One Financial
(NYSE:COF) (-1.45%) and Discover Financial Services
(NYSE:DFS) (-0.79%), were also down on the day.
Energy stocks were also hit, with Exxon Mobil
(NYSE:XOM) inching down 0.80% to $87.91 and Chevron
(NYSE:CVX) easing 0.67% to $104.29.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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