U.S. stocks seemed headed to yet another day of losses Wednesday, but a strong performance from retailers and a midday rebound — jolted by positive news from Washington concerning a possible avoidance of the fiscal cliff — helped the markets finish broadly in the black.
The Dow rose 0.83% to close at 12,984.49, with Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ, +3%) reversing recent losses and American Express (NYSE:AXP, +2%) charging ahead to help the lead the way. In all, only 3 of the 30 Dow components lost ground.
The other indices also finished up — the S&P 500 gained 0.79% to end at 1,409.93, and the Nasdaq improved 0.81% to 2,991.78.
The retail sector saw nice gains on the day; Express (NYSE:EXPR) and American Eagle (NYSE:AEO) were among some of the day’s biggest gainers on earnings, with 9% and 7% improvements, respectively. JCPenney (NYSE:JCP) also saw shares rise more than 4% on news of a pickup in Izod sales.
Big-box retailer Costco (NASDAQ:COST) joined a host of other companies in announcing a special dividend before year’s end — in COST’s case, a $7 one-time payout per share. Investors pushed Costco stock up more than 6%.
Trina Solar (NYSE:TSL) charged more than 20% despite posting higher losses than anticipated, and the solar sector followed TSL higher; among other Wednesday winners were Yingli Green Energy (NYSE:YGE, +13.3%) and Canadian Solar (NASDAQ:CSIQ, +12.2%).
Finally, Knight Capital (NYSE:KCG) continued its recent rebound after it received a $1 billion buyout bid from privately held Getco LLC, a Chicago-based high-frequency trader — an offer that exceeds Virtu Financial LLC‘s recent offer. Including Wednesday’s 15% gains, KCG shares are up 36% in the past five trading days.
- Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN): Up 11.6% (46 cents) to $4.42. (Read more here)
- Deckers (NASDAQ:DECK): Up 8.4% ($3.04) to $39.31.
- Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA): Up 6.8% (16 cents) to $2.51.
- Jos. A. Bank (NASDAQ:JOSB): down 7.3% ($3.43) to $43.85.
- Sears Holdings (NASDAQ:SHLD): Down 3.4% ($1.57) to $44.48..
- Pandora (NYSE:P): Down 3.1% (26 cents) to $8.18
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.