Investors have reason to be optimistic. Republican and Democratic lawmakers said they were confident an agreement could be reached to avoid the fiscal cliff, Lowe’s and Tyson Foods reported strong earnings, and U.S. home sales unexpectedly increased in October. As a result, the S&P 500 shot up more than 2 percent over the last two sessions. But after the market’s recent steady decline, upticks such as this are bound to happen.

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