US STOCKS-Wall St inches up as McDonald's and tech lead the way

Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:13pm EST
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* McDonald's shares rise on November sales

* Italian prime minister's resignation adds to uncertainty in Europe

* Investors look for progress in Washington "fiscal cliff" talks

* Dow up 0.2 pct, S&P up 0.1 pct, Nasdaq up 0.3 pct

NEW YORK, Dec 10 (Reuters) - 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. [I D :nL1E8N76OF]

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.   Continued...