* Fiscal cliff negotiations move ahead, lifting banks,
* Gunmakers' shares fall in aftermath of school massacre
* Dow up 0.8 pct, S&P 500 up 1 pct, Nasdaq up 1.4 pct
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Dec 18 U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday as
investors positioned for a better economic environment as
confidence grew a deal would be struck in Washington regarding
the ongoing budget negotiations.
The gains added to Monday's rally, giving the S&P 500 its
best two-day run in a month.
Sectors poised to grow during economic expansion led gains
as investors remain confident that Washington will come to an
agreement to avoid the "fiscal cliff" --a series of spending
cuts and tax hikes before the end of the year that could hurt
The PHLX oil services sector index jumped 2.6 percent
with six of its 15 components up 3 percent or more.
"The view is that the economy is getting better and that is
always good for energy demand," said Shawn Hackett, president at
Hackett Financial Advisors in Boynton Beach, Florida.
"Risk takers get into the sector, betting on a bump in rig
Hackett said the United States would avoid "whatever the
cliff means" for the economy, allowing investors to focus on
Financial stocks also rose sharply, as traders bet on a
greater demand for loans and a steepening of the yield curve.
U.S. government debt sold off Tuesday, with the benchmark yield
briefly hitting its highest since late October.
The S&P financial sector added 1 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 108.19 points,
or 0.82 percent, to 13,343.58. The S&P 500 gained 14.40
points, or 1.01 percent, to 1,444.76. The Nasdaq Composite
added 41.24 points, or 1.37 percent, to 3,051.85.
President Barack Obama's most recent offer to Republicans in
the ongoing budget talks makes concessions on taxes and social
programs spending. House Speaker John Boehner said the offer is
"not there yet," though he remains hopeful about an agreement.
Senate Democrats, however, have expressed concern about cuts to
Shares of firearm makers sank in the aftermath of a school
shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, on Friday that killed 20
children and six adults.
Smith and Wesson fell 10.8 percent to $7.72 on its
largest ever daily volume, though it was still up 77 percent so
far this year. Sturm Ruger and Co slid 8.2 percent
Tuesday to $40.39.
Technology shares rose led by Apple, up 2.3 percent
above $530 after losing nearly 13 percent in the last two weeks.
The S&P Information Technology Index rose 1.5 percent.
Arbitron Inc surged 23.6 percent to $47 after
Nielsen Holdings NV agreed to buy the media and
marketing research firm in a deal worth $1.26 billion. Nielsen
rose 3.1 percent to $30.55.