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Possible White House Deal Boosts Wall Street Sentiment - U.S. Commentary


Investors are cautiously optimistic headed into Friday's trading. Reports that the White House is in talks on a plan meant to avert the fiscal cliff gave a boost to stock futures headed into the session.

Wall Street turned in a lackluster performance on Thursday. The major averages posted losses for the day, though they finished off their lows for the session. The Dow slipped 29 points and the Nasdaq retreated 10 points - falling to their lowest closing levels since June. The S&P 500 dipped 2 points.

Some earnings reports are making headlines this morning.

Earnings at Dell dropped from last year. The PC maker said its quarterly profit fell 47 percent, amid lower sales and deteriorating margins. The company's results missed expectations. Dell also issued a cautious forecast for the fourth quarter.

Sears Holdings revealed a loss for its third quarter that widened from last year. The owner of the Sears and Kmart brands of stores suffered from lower revenue and the lack of a tax benefit that boosted last year's results. Sales slipped to $8.86 billion compared to $9.41 billion last year.

Clothing retailer Gap announced a quarterly profit that rose from last year. Earnings climbed 60 percent, helped by an 8 percent rise in sales. Gap also raised its forecast for the full year.

In other corporate news, Hertz has cleared an important hurdle in its attempt to acquire rival Dollar Thrifty. The rental car company has reached a deal with the Federal Trade Commission to move forward with the transaction. The agreement requires Hertz to sell its Advantage business and divest some airport concessions.

Starbucks has authorized a stock repurchase plan. The coffee house chain said its board of directors has approved the repurchase of up to 25 million shares of common stock. This is in addition to 12.1 million shares still available under a previous repurchase program.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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