-- The

S&P 500

rallied on Thursday after Eric Cantor hit social network to reveal that the House of Representatives will meet on Sunday, Dec. 30, as Congress works to broker a last-minute deal to avoid a so-called fiscal cliff.

Cantor's comments came after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid expressed skepticism early on Thursday that lawmakers would be able to reach a deal to avoid tax increases and federal budget cuts.

"The House will return for legislative business on Sunday, December 30. First votes are expected at 6:30 p.m." Rep. Cantor (R-Va.) wrote in a Twitter post at around 3 p.m. Eastern time.

"The House may be in session through Wednesday, January 2," he wrote in a follow-up post to the social network. "As a reminder, the 113th Congress will convene at noon on Thursday, January 3," added Cantor.

After falling more than 1%, the

S&P 500

recovered most of its losses, closing down only 0.1%. "I don't know time-wise how it can happen now," Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said early on Thursday before Cantor's remarks.


reports that in a conference call, House Speaker John Boehner told Republicans that the Senate should approve a House plan to avoid $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts, citing an unnamed source.

Bank stocks were among the worst performers on Thursday, with

Bank of America

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Morgan Stanley

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falling more than 0.5%, underperforming broader markets and the

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Other Republicans also took to social media to express optimism of a final attempt at reaching a deal before year-end. On Thursday afternoon, Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) wrote on


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he was headed back to Washington to see if a vote will be held on a new proposal between President Obama and Senate GOP leadership.

"Heading back to dc. Just learned that the Pres. reached out to Senate GOP leadership with a proposal. It is the first such proposal to be put forth. Eager to see why it is. How it is serious," Brown wrote on his Facebook page. On Twitter, later in the day, Brown wrote, "Getting on place to DC to review plan from Pres. We will see. Better late than never."

Republican officials contradicted Brown's social media rumblings. However, Cantor's subsequent announcement that the House of Representatives will reconvene moved markets sharply.

In a Senate chamber speech at the market close, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said President Obama had reached out to the Senate's GOP leadership about the prospect of reviving deal talks. While Sen. McConnell (R-Kan.) expressed skepticism on the timing of President Obama's last minute outreach, he added, "We might finally start talking... Hopefully there is still time for a deal of some kind."

In a second Senate floor address of the day after the market close, Reid replied to McConnell, saying he would be willing to act on a "reasonable" proposal offered by House or Senate Republicans.

"I am now neutral/small bullish. Been a week or so since I felt comfortable not being short US stocks," wrote Peter Tchir, founder of TF Market Advisors, wrote on Twitter, as details of a last-minute effort to cut a fiscal cliff deal emerged.

As Senators McConnell and Reid spoke at the market close, others thought Thursday's theatrics wouldn't amount to much in the way of a deal. "Fallin over the cliff looks like near inevitable as Reps and Dems are deadlocked," Nouriel Roubini wrote on Twitter.

For more on the fiscal cliff, see why

a housing recovery could blunt a partisan standoff

. Also see why

bank stocks fell on Thursday


-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York