Fiscal Cliff Optimism Pumps $AAPL to $530 - 2012 Up 31.4%

Shares of Apple Inc. jumped on Monday as rumors of a last minute deal to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff" cheered investors. $AAPL gained US$22.584 to end the year at $532.173, up 4.43 percent on the day and 31.4 percent on the year.

The "fiscal cliff" is the name for automatic budget sequestration set to begin on January 1st—that's tomorrow, for those keeping score at home—if the U.S. Congress and the White House can't come up with a deal.

Rumors of a deal began circulating on Monday when the White House scheduled a briefing from President Barack Obama over the talks. That was enough for investors to get all excited and put some of the money that's been pulled out of stocks in recent weeks back to work even though a deal wasn't announced by Mr. Obama.

The DOW ended the day at 13104.14, up 166.03 (+1.28 percent); the NASDAQ closed at 3019.51, a gain of 59.20 (+2.0 percent); and the S&P 500 closed at 1426.19, up 23.76 (+1.69 percent). Those are solid gains considering a deal has yet to be reached.

As for Apple, while most companies would (and some probably have) kill(ed) to have their stock rise more than 31 percent in a year, $AAPL is still well off its all-time closing high of $702.10 it hit on September 19th. That's a decline of $169.927 (-24.2 percent) in the last three months.

$AAPL Chart

$AAPL 2012 at a Glance
Chart Source: Yahoo! Finance

The chart above shows that 2012 was a year of literal ups and downs for $AAPL, but one that still counts as solid for those long on the stock. The markets are closed on January 1st, and it remains to be seen what kind of deal Washington can reach.

*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a tiny, almost insignificant share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.