US stocks : Optimism about 'cliff' boost market; financials lead
The gains, which came on lighter-than-usual volume, ended a two-day losing streak on the S&P 500. The index also had its best daily percentage gain since Nov. 23. Volume was roughly 6.2 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and the NYSE MKT, compared with the year-to-date average daily closing volume of 6.4 billion.
In the financial sector, American International Group Inc. shares rose 3 percent to $34.95 on plans to sell as much as $6.5 billion of AIA Group Ltd. Advancing stocks also included those in the home construction sector, which rose 4.5 percent.
"People are looking for sectors to play, and I think Bank of America broke out of some long-standing price levels, and it got everything going in that sector," said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Shares of Citigroup were up 4.1 percent at $39.15 while shares of Discover Financial were up 1.6 percent at $40.18.
Clearwire Corp agreed to sell the rest of the company to Sprint Nextel Corp for a slightly sweetened $2.2 billion offer just days after minority shareholders criticized the previous bid as too low. Clearwire tumbled 13.6 percent to $2.91, while Sprint was up 0.2 percent to
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