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    Stocks gain on hopes for a deal to avoid fiscal cliff

    Stocks gained on signs lawmakers are edging toward a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. The president said he believes both parties can reach a ‘framework’ on a debt-cutting deal before Christmas; the House speaker says he’s optimistic a solution can be forged. Concern that Congress won’t find a better plan than letting automatic tax increases and deep spending cuts kick in at the beginning of the year has weighed on stocks since the Nov. 6 elections, which returned a divided government to power. Uncertainty about a possible increase in capital gains taxes has been prompting investors to sell, some market watchers say.