by Rick Delgado
on Monday, January 7th, 2013 at 4:06pm.
WHAT A RELIEF... Last Tuesday, with the country poised to go over a fiscal cliff of major tax hikes and spending cuts, Congress averted it by passing budget legislation the President agreed to sign. They raised taxes on a small portion of wealthy Americans and extended unemployment benefits, and the fact they came to any agreement set off a humongous relief rally on Wall Street. The S&P 500 index closed Friday at a five-year high, enjoying its largest weekly percent gain in more than a year. But spending cuts weren't addressed, so there'll be more political wrangling on that and the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling limit we'll soon reach.
All was not upbeat as stocks fell Thursday after the minutes from the Fed's December meeting revealed some officials want to see an end to the central bank's bond-buying economic stimulus program later this year. Economic data continued mixed, with ISM Manufacturing and initial and continuing jobless claims missing estimates. But ISM Services topped forecasts and showed growth for that sector, while Friday's December Employment Report added a modest 155,000 jobs, although the unemployment rate remained at 7.8%.