POSTED: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 10:30am
UPDATED: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 10:34am
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Investors may finally be seeing light beyond the fiscal cliff.
Stocks rose Tuesday, as signs that a deal is taking shape in the fiscal cliff negotiations reassured investors.
House Speaker John Boehner's suggestion that he was open to higher tax rates on the wealthiest Americans was described as "progress" by the White House. President Barack Obama responded to the offer with his own compromise on both tax increases and spending cuts.
"There's an overriding belief now that we will get a deal done in 2012," said Peter Boockvar, an equity strategist at Miller Tabak.
Stock continued to edge even higher, after Standard and Poor's boosted Greece's credit rating by several notches Tuesday. "It's a long slow process, but investors are happy to see that progress is being made in Europe," said Doug DePietro, managing director at Evercore.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 gained between 0.7 percent and 0.9 percent.
Apple helped Nasdaq move higher, roughly 1.3 percent. The iPad maker's shares rose more than 2 percent, though Apple lost an important ruling. A federal judge denied its request for a permanent ban on 26 Samsung products that Apple charged had willfully infringed Apple's patents.
Investment bank Jefferies reported quarterly profits Tuesday that beat forecasts. Shares rose 3 percent.
In the wake of the massacre in Newtown, Conn., gun manufacturers continue to trade lower. Smith & Wesson dropped 11 percent, and Sturm Ruger fell 8 percent.
After the closing bell Tuesday, tech giant Oracle will report quarterly results.
European markets were higher in afternoon trading. Meanwhile, Asian markets ended mixed, with Japanese shares continuing to rally on hopes of further economic stimulus following the election victory for Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party.
The dollar fell against the British pound and the euro, and was little changed versus the Japanese yen.
In other markets, oil prices rose slightly, but gold fell more than 1.5 percent.
The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 1.78 percent.