“U.S. stocks climbed Monday as Wall Street looked past political turmoil in Italy, holding out hope for an agreement to avert automatic tax hikes and spending cuts in the United States,” Kate Gibson reports for MarketWatch.

“The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 31.83 points, or 0.2%, to 13,186.96,” Gibson reports. “The S&P 500 Index rose 1.1 point to 1,419.17, with materials advancing the most and consumer discretionary the heaviest weight among its 10 major sectors… The Nasdaq Composite Index added 6.98 points, or 0.2%, to 2,985.01.”

“Shares of Apple Inc. declined 0.7% after Jefferies Group Inc. reduced its share-price outlook,” Gibson reports. “Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met at the White House to talk about how to avert the billions in tax hikes and spending cuts set to start in the new year. Both sides declined to offer any details about the discussion, but issued duplicate statements, saying ‘the lines of communication remain open.'”

Gibson reports, “‘The fact that John Boehner went to the White House Sunday is a positive sign,’ said Ron Florance, managing director of investment strategy at Wells Fargo, who also found heartening Boehner’s decision to not call a news conference after the meeting. ‘It’s not great for volatility traders but it is great for investors,’ Florance added. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the U.S. economy would drop into a recession in the first half of the new year if a deal is not reached.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]