Wall Street fell slightly on Tuesday as wrangling over the "fiscal cliff" continued with President Barack Obama holding his ground about raising tax rates for the wealthy Americans.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 14 points, or 0.11%, to 12,952 at the close. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index dipped two points, or 0.17%, to 1,407. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed six points, or 0.18%, to close at 2,997.
Investors had little reason to act as legislators continue to negotiate a deal to avoid a $600 billion package of tax hikes and federal spending cuts that would begin 1 January. President Barack Obama rejected a Republican proposal to resolve the crisis as "out of balance" and said any agreement must include a rise in income tax rates on the highest-income Americans.
Netflix Inc jumped 14% after Walt Disney Co agreed to give the company exclusive TV distribution rights to its movies, starting in 2016.
Intel Corp gained 2.2% after the top chipmaker sold $6 billion in bonds to fund stock buybacks and other business activities.
Darden Restaurants Inc shares plunged 9.6% as the S&P 500's worst performer after the company warned that its latest quarter would miss expectations.
Big Lots Inc climbed 11.5% after the close-out retailer posted a smaller-than-expected loss and boosted its full-year adjusted earnings forecast.
MetroPCS Communications shares slumped 7.5% after Sprint Nextel appeared unlikely to make a counter-offer for the wireless service provider.
After the closing bell, Pandora Media Inc shares plunged 23% after the company reported its third-quarter results.
Casino shares tumbled after police in mainland China and Macau have detained people from at least three of the biggest junket operators in recent weeks. Las Vegas Sands fell 2.8% and Wynn Resorts dropped 2.9%.
MetroPCS Communications Inc. sank 7.5 percent to $9.96. The company, which agreed to merge with T-Mobile USA Inc. in October, fell after Reuters reported that Sprint Nextel Corp. is unlikely to make a counteroffer.
In Asia, shares oscillated between gains and losses on Wednesday in morning trade after the U.S. budget negotiations hit a stalemate with President Obama adamant on raising tax rates for the highest-income Americans.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.2% to 125 as of 11:32 a.m. in Tokyo. Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average 225 gained 0.12%. Korea’s KOSPI Index added 0.39%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was trading 1% higher, while China’s jumped 1.97%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.36%.