* Oracle gains as software sales boost profit
* S&P 500 coming off best two-day run in a month
* Knight Capital rallies, Getco to buy it
* Dow, S&P 500 flat, Nasdaq up 0.1 pct
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Dec 19 U.S. stocks were little changed
on Wednesday as investors found scant reason to continue buying
following the best two-day rally for the S&P in a month.
The Nasdaq notched slight gains, helped by technology shares
following strong results at Oracle Corp.
The S&P added 2.3 percent over the past two sessions, the
first time it has notched two straight days of 1 percent gains
since late July. The advance came as the latest offers in
ongoing U.S. budget negotiations supported hopes for a deal.
President Barack Obama's most recent offer to Republicans in
the ongoing fiscal talks made concessions on taxes and social
programs spending, amid concerns from Senate Democrats. House
Speaker John Boehner said he remained hopeful about an
agreement, though the offer was "not there yet."
"We're starting to see signs that there will be a deal on
the 'fiscal cliff,' but after two strong days and with a fair
amount of uncertainty left, people are just taking money off the
table," said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in
Tech shares were the top gainers of the day after
Oracle reported earnings that beat expectations on strong
software sales growth. Shares of Oracle rose 3.7 percent to
$34.08, making it the biggest percentage gainer on the S&P 500.
FedEx Corp reported second-quarter revenue that beat
expectations, but said earnings had been impacted by Superstorm
Sandy. Shares rose 2.3 percent to $94.44.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 2.60 points,
or 0.02 percent, to 13,353.56. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
dropped 0.52 points, or 0.04 percent, to 1,446.27. The
Nasdaq Composite Index gained 3.08 points, or 0.10
percent, to 3,057.61.
Equities have had difficulty maintaining strong gains amid
concerns over the "fiscal cliff," a combination of tax hikes and
spending cuts many fear could push the economy into recession if
they take effect next year.
Markets have been buoyed in recent weeks by any indication
that an agreement between policy makers over the budget may be
reached, with banks and energy shares - groups that outperform
during periods of economic expansion - leading gains.
Still, trading has been light ahead of the holidays, and
with investors' focus on the budget talks.
Knight Capital Group Inc climbed 6.3 percent to
$3.54 after it agreed to be bought by Getco Holdings in a deal
valued at $1.4 billion. The stock, which nearly collapsed after
a trading error in August, remains down about 76 percent so far