BY Associated Press
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
12/18/12 at 3:36 AM
Stocks move higher as budget talks progress
Stocks rose Monday as Wall Street investors were encouraged by signs of progress in budget talks in Washington. Just two weeks remain before tax increases and government spending cuts take effect if a deal cannot be reached.
On the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, stock traders paused for a minute of silence at 9:15 a.m. EST to remember the 20 children and seven adults killed Friday in a gunman's rampage through a Connecticut elementary school.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 100.38 points to 13,235.39, its biggest gain this month. The Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 16.78 points to 1,430.36 and the Nasdaq composite index rose 39.27 points to 3,010.60.
Banks were among the best-performing stocks. Citigroup gained $1.55, 4.1 percent, to $39.15 after Raymond James raised its target price on the stock to $52 from $44. In a note to clients, the brokerage reaffirmed its "Strong Buy" rating, citing the "improving fundamental outlook." Bank of America also gained 42 cents, or 4 percent, to $11.
Financial companies make up the best performing industry group in the S&P 500 this year, according to FactSet data. The group, which includes banks such as Wells Fargo & Co. and insurers such as Travelers, has gained 25 percent this year.