Wall Street edged higher on Monday as investors watched the latest developments in the U.S. budget negotiations and economic data in China beat estimates.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 15 points, or 0.11%, to 13,170 at the close. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was little changed at 1,419. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced nine points, or 0.30%, to close at 2,987.
There was little news Monday about the negotiations over the "fiscal cliff". U.S. President Barack Obama met Republican House Speaker John Boehner on Sunday to negotiate a budget deal.
In Europe, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said he would resign after the approval of the 2013 budget, adding to uncertainty about progress being made to tackle the euro zone's debt problem.
In China, factory output and retail sales data beat economists’ estimates giving a boost to the sentiment.
McDonald's Corp jolted the Dow, gaining 1.1%, as its November sales were stronger than expected and showed a bounce back from a decline in October.
Technology stocks were led by Hewlett-Packard Co, which added 2.6% on rumours that activist investor Carl Icahn is building a stake in the PC maker. Cisco Systems gained 2.4% after the company presented its midterm growth strategy on Friday.
U.S.-listed shares of energy company Nexen surged 13.8%. On Friday, Canada approved a $15.1 billion bid by CNOOC Ltd for Nexen.
Material shares rose in sync with copper and gold prices. Shares of Freeport-McMoRan gained 1.1%. Cliffs Natural added 4.6%, while Newmont Mining increased 1.6%.
Halozyme Therapeutics Inc. added 3.5% after a filing by partner Roche Holding AG with European regulators triggered a $4 million milestone payment.
In Asia, shares gained on Tuesday ahead of a Federal Reserve policy meeting and as investors look forward to the result of U.S. budget talks.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Excluding Japan Index added 0.2% to 460 as of 11:48 a.m. Tokyo time. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 0.3%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.4%, while Singapore’s Straits Times Index advanced 0.5%. South Korea’s Kospi Index added 0.2%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 0.5%, erasing losses of 0.2%. China’s Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.2%.