Wall Street ends 2012 riding high on "cliff" deal optimism

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks closed out 2012 with their strongest day in more than a month, putting the S&P 500 up 13.4 percent for the year, as lawmakers in Washington closed in on a resolution to the “fiscal cliff” negotiations. The S&P 500’s gain for the year marks its best performance since 2009, as stocks navigated through debt crises in Europe and the United States that dominated the headlines. Still, with numerous issues involving budget talks unresolved, markets could still be open to a shock should the deal break down unexpectedly. Fittingly, in the last session of the year, stocks bounced back and forth on the headlines out of Washington, as both President Barack Obama and…

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