Daily Data Flow: Stocks Soar; Twinkies Have a Chance; Oil Jumps

Daily Data Flow

S&P 500 Rises Most in 2 Months Amid Budget Deal Optimism (Bloomberg)
U.S. stocks rose, giving the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index its biggest advance in two months, amid better-than-forecast housing data and as President Barack Obama expressed confidence on a budget agreement with Congress. “This change and transition in taxation is much more important for equity allocations going forward than what people realize,” said Michael Shaoul, chairman of New York-based Marketfield Asset Management, which oversees $3.5 billion. He spoke in a phone interview. “The U.S. economy looks pretty good. Earnings are OK. As long as Congress doesn’t absolutely wreck it, it will be fine.”

Death of Twinkies on Hold as Judge Tries to Save Hostess Jobs (Reuters)
Hostess Brands Inc agreed in court on Monday to enter private mediation with its lenders and leaders of a striking union to try to avert the liquidation of the maker of Twinkies snack cakes and Wonder Bread. The 82-year-old Hostess was seeking permission to liquidate its business, claiming that its operations have been crippled by a bakers strike and that winding down is the best way to preserve its dwindling cash. Hostess suspended operations at all of its 33 plants across the United States last week as it moved to start selling assets.

Oil Jumps on Mideast Tension but Rally Could Fizzle (CNBC)
Oil prices are on the rise but should quickly reverse course if the military tensions between Israel and Hamas subside. “Right now, you’re pricing in all kinds of what ifs and worries,” said John Kilduff of Again Capital. “If history is a guide, I would look for prices to come off unless it escalates.” “It’s very hard to be short when there’s a shooting war in the Middle East,” said Addison Armstrong of Tradition Energy.

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In the past several weeks, the overall stock market has resembled a roller coaster -- down and then up, down and then up, followed by a quick drop. That situation is the case no matter which major market index we review. The only real difference among the Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite index has been the degree of the drop. While the first two indexes have fallen roughly 7% during the past month, the Nasdaq composite index dropped a more pronounced 8.1% in

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