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Stocks gain on optimism that fiscal cliff deal is near

Dec. 18, 2012 at 6:18 a.m.


NEW YORK (AP) - Stocks climbed on Wall Street on Tuesday, pushing the Standard and Poor's 500 to its highest level in two months, amid optimism that lawmakers are closing in on a budget deal that will stop the U.S. from going over the "fiscal cliff" at the beginning of next year.

The Standard & Poor's 500 gained 14 points to 1,444. Earlier it went as high 1,447, the highest since Oct. 19. The Nasdaq composite rose 38 points to 3,049.

House Speaker John Boehner told reporters he remains hopeful a compromise can be reached, but says President Barack Obama has yet to offer a balanced plan. Boehner said Obama's latest offer for $1.3 trillion in tax increases over the next decade with $850 billion in spending cuts isn't enough. The White House says President Obama has met Boehner halfway on deal.

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