What started out looking like an up day for U.S. stocks quickly turned south as fiscal cliff concerns piled on top of a disappointing report on manufacturing activity adding concerns about economic growth.
President Obama and congressional negotiators are looking at a four-week window of time to avoid the fiscal cliff crisis, and Obama’s opening offer of tax hikes and spending cuts was met with skepticism by House Speaker John Boehner, suggesting the two sides are far apart.
Combined with an ISM manufacturing index that unexpectedly contracted in November, markets fell broadly Monday, with the Dow Jones down 0.46% to 12,965.60, the S&P 500 down 0.47% to 1,409.46, and the Nasdaq lower by 0.27% to 3,002.20.
Analyst reports played a major role in market movers, as shares of computer maker Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) jumped 5% after Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) upgraded the stock from “sell” to “buy.” Dell ended the day up just under 5%. Shares of Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD) — which makes chips for Dell computers — moved in harmony, advancing more than 7%.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ:GMCR) rose more than 4% on an upgrade from Lazard (NYSE:LAZ), putting the stock 30% in the black in just five trading days. GMCR mostly has been propelled by solid earnings and an upbeat forecast.
Of course, analyst ratings can go both ways — Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM), itself on a 30% run in the past month — slid fractionally following a downgrade by Canaccord Genuity.
The corporate rumor mill boosted shares of grocery chain SuperValu (NYSE:SVU) by 11%, as reports say private equity firm Cerberus is in talks to take the company private, though no formal bid has been proffered to this point.
Meanwhile, shares of Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) fell just more than 4% as the fallout from its contract termination with Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) continues to take a toll. Zynga has lost nearly 13% since Friday’s announcement.
Finally, a happy 20th birthday to text messaging, which started on this date in 1992 not with “Mr. Watson–come here–I want to see you,” but instead “Happy Christmas” from developer Neil Papworth to Richard Jarvis of Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD).
- Deckers Outdoor (NASDAQ:DECK): Up 10.6% ($4.05) to $42.34.
- Qihoo (NASDAQ:QIHU): Up 9.8% ($2.45) to $27.44.
- Sandridge Energy (NYSE:SD): Up 3.9% (23 cents) to $6.08.
- Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX): Down 7% ($5.71) to $76.
- Vringo (AMEX:VRNG): Down 4.8% (17 cents) to $3.38.
- 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD): Down 4.7% ($2.12) to $42.59.
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing he does not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.