Dec. 17 - Summary of business headlines: Dow climbs 100 points as Republican leader puts new offer on the table; NY Manufacturing extends contraction; Apple rating cut on competition fears; AIG shopping around Asia unit; Sprint and Clearwire shift to action from talk. Conway G. Gittens reports.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL There seems to be movement on the debate in Washington over spending cuts and tax hikes and that was enough to swing Wall Street higher. Stocks held on to their gains, having their best one-day rally since late November. Optimism surrounding the fiscal cliff overshadowed regional factory data. Manufacturing activity in the New York region shrank for the fifth month in a row. On the corporate front, Apple is being sliced and diced after early sales figures from China. Though the company sold more than 2 million iPhones in China, its second biggest market, analysts are still concerned about stepped-up competition. Citigroup downgraded the stock and set a $575 price target. The stock came pretty close to $500 and bounced off that low of the day to finish higher. AIG was another stock on the move. The insurance giant is looking to raise $6-1/2 billion through the sale of a remaining stake in its Asian unit. The stock was up 3 percent. Clearwire accepts a sweetened proposal from majority shareholder Sprint. Sprint will pay $2.2 billion to have full ownership of the company, getting access to more bandwidth to beef up high-speed wireless access. Shares of Clearwire were down 13.6 percent and Sprint bounced higher. In European action - investors do not seem willing to place any substantial bets as the holidays approach, leaving markets little changed.