* Clearwire down after agreeing to sell rest of company to
* Apple sheds earlier losses, rises 1 pct
* Indexes up: S&P 0.91 pct, Dow 0.65 pct, Nasdaq 0.97 pct
By Gabriel Debenedetti
NEW YORK, Dec 17 U.S. stocks rose on Monday on
signs of positive developments in weekend negotiations over the
"fiscal cliff," though trading volumes were light.
Each of the S&P 500's 10 sectors was higher, led by
financials, as the S&P Financial Index gained 1.6
percent. Shares of Bank of America rose 2.8 percent to
$10.87 and Citigroup gained 2.6 percent to $38.57.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner edged closer to
President Barack Obama's position as they try to avoid the
automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that would take place in
the new year if no deal is reached.
Sources familiar with talks confirmed that Boehner proposed
extending lower tax rates for everyone who earns less than $1
million. Still, this position remains far from that of President
The news was enough to boost the market, which has steadily
risen over the last month even though there are few signs that
legislators are close to a deal.
"I think there's a lot of expectation that a fiscal cliff
deal of some sort does get done," said Joseph Benanti, managing
director of Rosenblatt Securities in New York.
"People are going to stay slightly positive, not overly
enthusiastic, going into the end of the year."
Trading tends to be lighter at the end of the year and
investors have been cautious due to the uncertainty in
Washington. Investors worry the U.S. economy could slide into
recession if the tax and spending changes are implemented.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 84.99 points,
or 0.65 percent, at 13,220.00. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
rose 12.81 points, or 0.91 percent, at 1,426.39. The
Nasdaq Composite Index gained 28.90 points, or 0.97
percent, at 3,000.24.
The Nasdaq briefly hit a 1 percent gain before noon.
If the S&P 500 ends higher, it would end a two-day losing
streak that came after a six-day run of gains. Despite the
uncertainty, the S&P has performed well in the last month,
grinding higher in mostly light volume.
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
percent to $2.93, while Sprint rose 0.3 percent to $5.57.
Apple Inc shares rebounded from earlier losses,
rising 1 percent to $515.04. Two firms cut their price targets
on the stock Monday, sparking some selling.
The tech giant said it sold more than 2 million of its new
iPhone 5 smartphones in China during the three days after its
launch there on Friday, but the figures did not ease worries
about stiffer competition. Apple shares have tumbled more than
25 percent in about three months.
Compuware Corp rose nearly 15 percent to $10.95
after hedge fund Elliott Management offered to buy the business
software maker for $2.3 billion and S&P Capital IQ raised the
target price and moved it to "hold" from "strong sell."