Imminent Fiscal Cliff Deal Lifts Market

President Barack Obama reportedly offered the possibility of starting tax rate hikes at $400,000 in income instead of $250,000.  Investors hoped this would get Washington closer to a budget deal.  The Dow surged 81 points to 13,317 while Nasdaq leaped 30 points to 3040.On the upsideConfidence in the homebuilding industry lifted shares of Ellie Mae (Nasdaq: ELLI) which provides mortgage software and services.S&P maintained its debt rating on Boyd Gaming (NYSE: BYD) which recently completed its acquisition of Peninsula Gaming LLC in a deal valued at about $1.4 billion.Shares of Level 3 Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:LVLT) rose on positive analyst ratings.On the downsideIn the wake of the school shooting, shares of gunmakers fell for a second day in the row.  Sturm Ruger Inc (NYSE: RGR) and Smith & Wesson (Nasdaq: SWHC) had posted higher gun sales leading up to the November 2012 elections.Shares of FactSet (NYSE: FDS) fell after the data research company issued weaker guidance despite meeting last quarter’s revenue and earnings targets.UK authorities may force cigarette companies to start using plain packaging.  Shares of Lorillard (NYSE:LO), Altia (NYSE: MO) and Philip Morris (NYSE: PM) promptly fell.In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 3 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 2 to 1 on Nasdaq. The broader S&P 500 index rose 10 points to 1441.
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