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The Dow Now: Hewlett-Packard and Alcoa Advance in the Absence of a Santa Rally

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Microsoft and United Technologies were down on the day.

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Will we witness a "Santa Rally" this year? Stocks historically rise from Christmas Eve through the first few days of the new year, but because of the continued fiscal cliff stalemate, US equities are little changed in Boxing Day trading.

Fresh from his annual Hawaii vacation, President Barack Obama will return to Washington to attempt once again to work out a deal with Republicans to avert the automatic tax increases and spending cuts set to kick in in 2013.

"I don't think the President is coming back from Hawaii without anticipating we're getting something done so I'm optimistic and the Street is somewhat optimistic too," Gordon Charlop of Rosenblatt Securities told CNBC. "You don't get a sense that they're selling into the pessimism that people are trying to circulate about the fiscal cliff not being resolved."

"[But] we'll be looking at muted volume," Charlop added. "It's going to be a wait-and-see session."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) is down 0.30% to 13,099.53 as of 12:04 p.m. EDT.

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) was the standout Dow stock on the day, rising 1.39% to $14.21. Fellow Dow tech component Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) also gained 0.07% to $20.65.

Alcoa (NYSE:AA) also advanced 1.10% to $8.72. According to a Bloomberg survey of analysts, aluminum stock futures are expected to rise up to 16% to $2,400 per ton next year, even in spite of a record glut, because of shipping delays from warehouses.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) declined 0.89% to $26.82. The New York Times reported yesterday that Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) productivity apps are growing in popularity among enterprise users largely because Google's $50-per-year seat license is much lower than the $400 cost for a licensed copy of Microsoft Office.

United Technologies (NYSE:UTX) also dipped 0.58% to $81.76. Over the weekend, the company said that it would divest its fuel cell business to ClearEdge Power for an undisclosed sum.

Twitter: @sterlingwong
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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