* Top Republican lawmaker optimistic on averting fiscal
* Costco to pay special dividend ahead of expected higher
* Getco, Virtu make rival bids for Knight Capital
* Dow, S&P 500, Nasdaq each end up 0.8 pct
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Nov 28 U.S. stocks rallied on
Wednesday after comments from House Speaker John Boehner, the
top Republican in Congress, on a possible compromise to avoid
the "fiscal cliff" turned the market around.
The S&P 500 rebounded from a 1 percent decline, gaining more
than 20 points from its low after Boehner, an Ohio Republican,
said he was optimistic that a budget deal to avoid big spending
cuts and tax hikes can be worked out. President Barack Obama
added to the good feelings, saying he hoped to get a deal done
in the next four weeks.
Whether or not those remarks reflect the reality of
negotiations is another story.
"The fiscal cliff is dominating the discussion, and short
term, we're a little bit too optimistic on it being fixed right
away," said John Manley, chief equity strategist for Wells Fargo
Advantage Funds in New York.
In expectation of higher dividend tax rates in 2013,
companies have been shifting dividends or announcing special
payouts to shareholders.
Costco Wholesale Corp, up 6.3 percent at $102.58,
was the S&P 500's biggest percentage gainer after it became the
latest company to announce a special dividend.
The market's move marked the second straight day where a
leading legislator dictated trading action. On Tuesday, stocks
fell on pessimistic remarks from Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid, a Democrat from Nevada.
The market has been swinging for weeks now on headlines from
Washington, with Wednesday's gyrations once again highlighting
the importance that Wall Street is giving to finding a solution
to avoid the series of tax increases and spending cuts that
could push the U.S. economy into recession.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 106.98 points,
or 0.83 percent, to 12,985.11 at the close. The S&P 500
gained 10.99 points, or 0.79 percent, to 1,409.93. The Nasdaq
Composite added 23.99 points, or 0.81 percent, to close
The S&P 500 bounced off a strong support area near 1,385
that includes both its 200- and 14-day moving averages. It
closed above 1,400 for the third session in four - an optimistic
sign for stock bulls.
Knight Capital Group Inc shares jumped 15.2 percent
to $3.42 on news that Getco Holding proposed a $1.4 billion
merger with Knight, while Virtu Financial offered to buy Knight
for at least $1.1 billion.
Apparel retailer Express Inc rose 8.9 percent to
$14.15 after it forecast strong earnings for the current quarter
as lower prices and easy-to-understand discounts led to robust
Black Friday sales.
The S&P retail index gained 1.4 percent.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters surged 27.3 percent
to $36.86 a day after it forecast quarterly and full-year
earnings well ahead of analysts' expectations.
Nearly 6.1 billion shares changed hands on the New York
Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and NYSE MKT, below the daily average
so far this year of about 6.48 billion shares.
On the NYSE, roughly seven stocks rose for every three that
fell, and on Nasdaq, five issues rose for every three that fell.