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Stocks rally before France loses AAA

Monday, November 19, 2012 - 02:05

Nov. 19 - Summary of business headlines: Wall Street jumps 2 percent as Washington backs away from the fiscal cliff, Wal-Mart moves up dividend with fiscal cliff in mind, Existing home sales and homebuilder optimism point to continued rebound, Intel CEO retiring; Oil nears $90. Conway G. Gittens reports.

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PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL Wall Street bounces back with the best one-day gain in two months after stocks suffer for weeks. But Europe may take a hit on Tuesday, after France lost its AAA credit rating from Moody's after the U.S. closing bell. Nevertheless, the Dow settled at the high of the day, up more than 200 points. The S&P 500 rose 2 percent. The Nasdaq up 2.2 percent. Investors are betting lawmakers will be able to prevent the fiscal cliff. But some companies are not taking any chances. Wal-Mart is moving up its dividend to December from January, so shareholders can avoid getting hit with a higher bill next if dividend tax rates go up. By the way, shareholders include descendants of founder Sam Walton, who are some of the richest people in the world. The improving housing market also gave the stocks a bounce. Sales of previously owned home jumped a stronger than expected 2.1 percent in October and a survey of homebuilders shows renewed optimism, hitting a six-year high in November. Intel will soon see changes at the top. Chief Executive Paul Otellini will retire next year. His departure comes as the chip giant struggles with the changing marketplace. Its stronghold, PC chip, is fading, while the market for smartphones and tablets expands rapidly. Known for promoting from within, the current chief operating officer is considered a top contender, says portfolio manager Joshua Spencer of the T. Rowe Price Global Technology Fund. SOUNDBITE: JOSHUA SPENCER, PORTFOLIO MANAGER, T. ROWE PRICE GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY FUND (ENGLISH) SAYING: "In addition to being COO, he's in charge of Intel's manufacturing footprint. And it's really the one area that they've had dominance and has continued to extend their lead." The announcement was met with a muted response; shares only gained a few cents. Oil prices closed at one-month highs on political and economic optimism in the U.S. and violence in the Middle East. In Europe, Portugal passes a bailout review paving the way for the next 2.5 billion euro payout, but markets were focused on the U.S., giving European stocks their best day in 10 weeks.

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Stocks rally before France loses AAA

Monday, November 19, 2012 - 02:05

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