by Marc Bastow | December 19, 2012 5:11 pm
It doesn’t really take very much to move investors from optimism to pessimism, particularly when it comes to the daily soap opera that is fiscal cliff negotiations.
Just the hint of a snag in negotiations due to John Boehner’s “Plan B” proposition was enough to take the steam out of the two-day rally. The result was a broad retreat that snowballed throughout the day, ending with the Dow down 0.74% to 13,251.97, the S&P 500 down 0.76% to 1,435.81 and the Nasdaq off 0.33% to 3,044.37.
It wasn’t all bad news, though. Shares of enterprise software and hardware manufacturer Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) rose nearly 4% after the company announced adjusted net Q2 profit soared over 18% from a year ago. Oracle’s results did nothing for the tech sector, though, with most of its players either down a fraction or flat on the day.
Shares of General Motors (NYSE:GM) rose nearly 7% on news that the company will repurchase 200 million shares of its stock back from the U.S. Treasury by the end of this year for $27.50 a share, reducing the U.S. Treasury’s stake in GM down to 300 million shares.
Stock trading firm Knight Capital (NYSE:KCG) said it will merge with rival and partial owner Getco, just three weeks after Getco made its offer. Knight Capital stock gained just over 5% on the day.
FedEx (NYSE:FDX) shares barely finished in the black today, clawing back slight losses after announcing lackluster earnings. It blamed sub-par revenue on Superstorm Sandy and weakness in Europe.
Global weight management and nutritional supplement marketing company Herbalife (NYSE:HLF) shares crumbled on the day after Pershing Square fund manager Bill Ackman called the company a “pyramid scheme” and announced he was shorting the stock. Shares closed over 12% in the red, while sector-mates Blyth (NYSE:BTH, -7.3%%), NuSkin (NYSE:NUS, -9.01%) and USANA Healthcare (NASDAQ:USNA, -3.7%) fell in sympathy.
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.
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