Stocks climb on 'cliff' deal hopes

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Stocks shot higher Monday even as the nation neared the "fiscal cliff." By the time trading ended, Republicans and Democrats still hadn't reached a budget compromise, but investors were betting that they would.

The close was a high note to end a choppy day. The Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 index both climbed more than 1 percent. The Nasdaq composite index rose 2 percent.

Stocks fell at the opening of trading and struggled for direction throughout the morning. The indecisiveness overlaid a day of dramatic budget negotiations in Washington, where lawmakers were trying to hammer out a new budget deal.

Stocks jerked higher at midday following reports a bare outline of a deal to avoid the cliff had been knit together. The gains faded after President Barack Obama said in the early afternoon that a compromise was "within sight" but not finalized. Then, in the late afternoon the indexes shot higher again. Congressional Republicans and the Democratic White House said they had agreed on some measures but still had no final deal in hand.

At the close of trading, the Dow was up 166.03 points, finishing the year at 13,104.14. The S&P 500 was up 1.69 percent to 1,426.19. The Nasdaq climbed 2.0 percent to 3,019.51.

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