* McDonald's shares rise on November sales
* Italian prime minister's resignation adds to uncertainty
* Investors look for progress in Washington "fiscal cliff"
* Dow up 0.2 pct, S&P up 0.1 pct, Nasdaq up 0.3 pct
NEW YORK, Dec 10 U.S. stocks edged higher on
Monday, helped by gains in McDonald's after the fast-food giant
posted strong sales results, and a move up in technology shares.
Technology stocks were the S&P 500's best-performing sector
as Hewlett-Packard Co climbed 2.9 percent to $14.20 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.
Tech was also supported by Cisco Systems, which
gained 2.4 percent to $19.79 after the company presented its
midterm growth strategy on Friday. Monday's rally put the stock
on track for its fifth advance in the past six sessions.
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U.S. President Barack Obama met with Republican House
Speaker John Boehner on Sunday to negotiate a budget deal. A
Boehner aide said Monday that talks are continuing.
Persistent worries about the negotiations over the "fiscal
cliff," a series of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that
could hurt economic growth next year, have kept market moves
small of late.
"There is a general sense that if a deal is struck, that we
could have a further advance in the market at the end of this
year as well as the first part of next year," said Michael
Sheldon, chief market strategist at RDM Financial in Westport,
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. However, the
market has regained most of the losses incurred post-election as
investors refocused on the fiscal cliff.
McDonald's Corp gave the Dow a jolt, gaining 1.4
percent to $89.69, as its November sales were stronger than
expected and showed a bounce back from a decline in October.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 23.03 points,
or 0.18 percent, at 13,178.16. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was up 0.71 of a point, or 0.05 percent, at 1,418.78. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 7.35 points, or 0.25
percent, at 2,985.39.
News out of Italy kept sentiment in check as Prime Minister
Mario Monti said he would resign after the approval of the 2013
budget. The move added to uncertainty about progress being made
to tackle the euro zone's debt problem and drove Italy's
borrowing costs higher.
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