After trading in a tight range for two days, markets pushed higher on Wednesday. Mike Hunter has your stock market report on the Acadiana Business Index.

  • The Dow was up 82 points to 13,034 and the S&P 500 Index gained 2 points to 1,409. However, the tech-heavy NASDAQ lost nearly 23 points to 2973.
  • Optimism surrounding the looming fiscal cliff helped lift stocks. President Obama said an agreement on budget negotiations could be reached in a week and some Republicans joined a bipartisan call to break the impasse over higher taxes for wealthy Americans.
  • A round of economic data provided additional support. Ahead of Friday’s nonfarm payrolls number, the private sector created 118,000 jobs in November. In addition, the ISM’s non-manufacturing index expanded at a faster than expected pace in November. Factory orders also topped expectations, rising for the second consecutive month in October. As a result, nearly all sectors finished in positive territory.
  • Utility and financial shares led markets higher as Sempra Energy gained $2.06 to $70.30 and Citigroup rallied by $2.17 to $36.46. Technology was the worst performing sector. Apple’s largest decline in more than a year weighed on the NASDAQ as the tech-giant dropped $37.05 to $538.51.
  • Overall, NYSE Composite volume totaled over 4.1 billion shares. The NYSE was even on issues and 2-1 positive on volume. On the NASDAQ, decliners beat advancers by 4-3 on issues and volume was even. In fixed-income, Treasuries were virtually unchanged as the 10-year note gained 3/32 to yield 1.59%.

For the complete report, click Ken's Market Report.