NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- The major U.S. equity averages finished mixed Monday as investors tried to decipher the latest round of rhetoric coming out of Washington, D.C. about the fiscal cliff.

Stocks plumbed their lows of the session early in the day as Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the Minority leader in the Senate, called for President Barack Obama to break an

impasse

on budget talks.

But Wall Street bounced late in the day following a

statement of confidence

from White House Press Secretary Jay Carney that a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff will eventually be struck.

At final check, the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

fell more than 42 points, or 0.33%, to close at 12,967. The blue-chip index, which was coming off its best weekly performance since June, began the session up nearly 6% in 2012.

Losers finished well ahead of winners within the Dow, 22 to 8. The biggest percentage decliners were

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

,

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

,

Coca-Cola

(KO) - Get Report

,

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

, and

Verizon

(VZ) - Get Report

, all rising more than 1%.

Shares of

UnitedHealth Group

(UNH) - Get Report

were also lower Monday after the health insurer gave 2013 earnings guidance that's below the current consensus analysts' expectations.

Meantime,

Hewlett-Packard

(HPQ) - Get Report

continued to bounce, closing 2.4% higher. Shares of the no. 1 PC maker scraped multi-year lows last week after its quarterly report.

The

S&P 500

lost close to 3 points, or 0.20%, to settle at 1406, while the

Nasdaq

ticked up nearly 10 points, or 0.33%, to finish at 2977. It was the sixth straight positive session for the tech-heavy index, which is up more than 14% in 2012.

The weakest sectors in the broad market were energy, financials, health care, and services. Consumer cyclicals, technology, transportation and utilities finished in the green.

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

was a bright spot as shares of iPhone maker jumped more than 3% after Citigroup initiated coverage of the stock with a buy rating and a $675 price target.

Decliners finished ahead of advancers by a ratio of 1.3-to-1 on the Big Board but winners edged losers by a 1.2-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq. Volume totaled 2.94 billion on the New York Stock Exchange and 1.64 billion on the Nasdaq.

The FTSE 100 in London closed down 0.56% on Monday, while the DAX in Germany settled lower at 0.23%.

Japan's Nikkei average settled up 0.24% as exporters got a boost amid anticipation of more easing from the Bank of Japan and a weaker yen. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed down by 0.24%.

Gold for December delivery fell $1.80 to settle at $1,749.60 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while January crude oil contracts lost 54 cents to close at $87.74.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury rose 6/32, diluting the yield to 1.672%. The dollar was off 0.04%, according to the

U.S. dollar index.

U.S. stocks

soared

Friday as long checkout lines and positive economic data out of China and Germany supplied the fuel for a Black Friday lift-off.

Cyber Monday didn't stoke quite the same bullishness though, despite reports that online spending was

running at a healthy clip

compared to last year.

Online retailers

Amazon

(AMZN) - Get Report

and

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

both rose, adding 1.6% and 4.9% respectively. More traditional retailers

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

and

Target

(TGT) - Get Report

closed down 0.41% and 2.6% respectively.

On the U.S. economic front, the latest print on Dallas region manufacturing activity suggested a bigger-than-expected decline in the region's business activity in November from October.

In corporate news, shares of

Knight Capital Group

(KCG)

finished up 13.3% following a report that the firm may sell its market-making business.

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

shares added 1% after Goldman Sachs placed the stock on its conviction buy list and lifted its price target to $24.

Facebook

(FB) - Get Report

shares jumped 8.1% after shares of the social media giant were upgraded to outperform from market perform at Bernstein.

Generac Holdings

(GNRC) - Get Report

shares lost 9.3% after the generator maker announced a secondary offering of 11.5 million common shares.

Insperity

(NSP) - Get Report

shares gained 6% as the human resources and business performance solutions provider announced that it is commencing a modified Dutch auction tender offer to repurchase shares of its common stock up to an aggregate purchase price of $50 million and that its board of directors has declared a special cash dividend of $1 a share of common stock.

Mohawk Industries

(MHK) - Get Report

shares were down 2.4% after

Reuters

reported that the producer of floor covering products is in advanced talks to buy Italian ceramics maker

Marazzi Group.

-- Written by Andrea Tse and Joe Deaux in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here:

Andrea Tse

.

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