North American stocks were up in midday trading on Tuesday, a day ahead of a monetary policy announcement from the Federal Reserve and amid optimism that Washington might be heading toward a compromise in budget negotiations.
Shortly after noon, the S&P 500 was up nearly 13 points or 0.9 per cent, to 1431 – putting it on track for five straight days of gains. The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average was up 108 points or 0.8 per cent, to 13,277. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 69 points or 0.6 per cent, to 12,300.
The moves followed earlier reports that Republicans and Democrats were working toward an agreement to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff” of automatic tax increases and spending cuts in the New Year – with Bloomberg News reporting that President Barack Obama had sounded conciliatory in remarks made at a Daimler AG plan on Monday.
At noon, John Boehner addressed the House but provided little insight on the progress of negotiations, saying only that he remains optimistic that an agreement can be reached but that Mr. Obama must get serious in talks. Major indexes, which have now recovered ground lost after the U.S. presidential election in November, were barely affected by his remarks.
In Germany, a sentiment survey among analysts and investors jumped into positive territory in November, topping expectations.
Among European indexes, Germany’s DAX index rose 0.8 per cent, hitting its highest level since early 2008. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose less than 0.1 per cent.
Within the S&P 500, technology stocks led the rally, rising 1.8 per cent. Health-care stocks rose 1.2 per cent and financials rose 0.9 per cent.
American International Group Inc. rose 4.7 per cent after the Treasury Department said it would sell its final stake in the company, which was bailed out by the government during the financial crisis.
Within Canada’s benchmark index, consumer staples and consumer discretionary stocks rose 0.8 per cent each and financials rose 0.6 per cent. Energy stocks rose 0.5 per cent and materials rose 0.4 per cent.
Research In Motion Ltd. rose 4 per cent and hit a seven-month high after it said that developers are showing a rising interest in endorsing its upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform.