Friday got started with a better-than-expected jobs report for November, giving stock futures a boost into the open.
But, the looming "fiscal cliff" continued to dampen enthusiasm for investors and dominate the conversation.
On Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner set the tone for discussion in an exclusive interview on CNBC. The Treasury Secretary said that the Obama administration is "absolutely" ready for the U.S. economy to go over the "fiscal cliff" rather than accept a budget deal without higher taxes for the top 2-percent of wage earners.
And today, the high stakes game of financial "chicken" continued. House Speaker John Boehner spoke on Capitol Hill saying that there has been no progress in negotiations and that the White House needs to get serious.
One company, Seaboard Corporation, is so determined to avoid the potential for higher taxes on capital gains that it has announced a $12 dividend payable December 28 to shareholders of record on December 17. This dividend is intended to cover the next FOUR years of planned dividend payments. Wow.
Single-Stock Stories of Note:
Cisco shifting gears—In an annual meeting with analysts and reporters today, CEO John Chambers said the company wanted to grow beyond its identity as maker of network equipment and that the company had gone too long without a major acquisition. The stock initially rallied and then finished down on the session.
Avon Products—No news but, an unusually active day for the maker of beauty products, the stock was the best performer on the S&P 500.
Apple—yes, the "death cross" was achieved today where the 50-day moving average crossed the 200-day moving average on the downside. Down 8.9 percent, Apple was the biggest loser on the Nasdaq 100 and posted its worst weekly loss since May 2010. If you're thinking about buying or selling shares of Apple, watch this.
And Chanukah starts this weekend – here's how they do it in Israel.