Posted: Dec 4, 2012 9:35 AM by AP
NEW YORK (AP) - Stocks edged higher on Wall Street in early trading Tuesday as budget talks continued in Washington.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 31 points to of 12,996 as of 9:49 a.m. Eastern. The Standard and Poor's 500 was up one point to 1,410. The Nasdaq composite was down four points at 2,998.
Investors are still waiting on developments from Washington on budget talks to avoid the "fiscal cliff," a series of sharp government spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to start Jan. 1 unless an agreement is reached to cut the budget deficit. The measures, if implemented, could push the U.S. into recession, economists say.
Republicans, led by House Speaker John Boehner, have balked at President Barack Obama's proposal of $1.6 trillion in higher taxes over a decade, a possible extension of the temporary Social Security payroll tax cut and heightened presidential power to raise the national debt limit. The GOP on Monday proposed its own 10-year blueprint to President Barack Obama that calls for increasing the eligibility age for Medicare and lowering cost-of-living hikes for Social Security benefits.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was unchanged at 1.62 percent.
Among stocks making big moves;
-Big Lots gained $2.10 to $30.13 after the discount retailer reported a loss that wasn't as bad as analysts had forecast. The company also raised its full-year earnings forecast.
-Darden Restaurants fell $4.42 to $48.01 after the owner of the Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse restaurant chains revised its earnings outlook for fiscal 2013.
-Pep Boys fell $1 to $9.68 after posting a loss on weak sales at the company's auto stores and reporting rising costs.