* McDonald's shares rise on November sales
* Investors look for progress in Washington talks
* Italian prime minister's resignation adds to uncertainty
* Dow up 0.3 pct, S&P up 0.2 pct, Nasdaq up 0.4 pct
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Dec 10 U.S. stocks rose on Monday,
aided by gains in McDonald's and technology stocks, but moves
remained muted as investors looked for any signs of movement on
the "fiscal cliff" front.
Developments in Europe also served to keep sentiment in
check a s Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said he would resign
once the 2013 budget is approved. The move added to uncertainty
about progress being made to tackle the euro zone's debt problem
and drove Italy's borrowing costs higher.
U.S. President Barack Obama met with Republican House
Speaker John Boehner on Sunday to negotiate a deal for avoiding
the "fiscal cliff" set to go into effect in the new year.
The two sides declined to provide details about the
unannounced meeting. Obama is expected to make remarks at 2 p.m.
(1900 GMT) from Michigan where he is touring an auto
The fiscal cliff talks have kept markets on edge in the last
month as investors worry that the scheduled tax hikes and budget
cuts could send the U.S. economy into recession if politicians
do not reach a deal.
But the heightened rhetoric and lack of substantial progress
has also handcuffed the equities market. The benchmark S&P 500
index has yet to see a move greater than 0.5 percent in either
direction for December, and hasn't moved more than 1 percent
either way since Nov. 23.
"What we have been seeing is any headline that emanates from
anywhere in the world will drive the market pretty quickly one
way or the other," said Keith Bliss, senior vice-president at
Cuttone & Co, in New York.
"People are out of the market if they have already got their
gains (for the year) and the other thing is anybody that is in
the market is just kind of sitting around waiting."
The Dow got its biggest lift from McDonald's Corp,
up 1.2 percent at $89.55. The fast-food chain's
stronger-than-expected November sales marked a rebound after a
decline in October.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 34.89 points,
or 0.27 percent, to 13,190.02. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
added 2.78 points, or 0.20 percent, to 1,420.85. The
Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 12.79 points, or 0.43
percent, to 2,990.83.
Technology stocks were the S&P 500's best-performing sector,
helped by a 3.6 percent climb in Hewlett-Packard Co to
$14.30 on rumors that activist investor Carl Icahn is building a
stake in the PC maker. The stock is down 44.5 percent for the
year and ranks as the Dow's worst performer.
Cisco Systems also buoyed tech stocks. Cisco's
shares rose 2 percent to $19.71 after the company, known for its
Internet routers and switches, laid out its midterm growth
strategy on Friday. Monday's rally put the stock on track for
its fifth advance in the past six sessions. [I D :nL1E8N76OF]
Ingersoll-Rand Plc edged up 0.1 percent to $48.76
after the company said it will spin off its security division
and announced a $2 billion share buyback.