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), AT&T ( T), Coca-Cola ( KO), Microsoft ( MSFT), and Verizon ( VZ), all rising more than 1%. Shares of UnitedHealth Group ( UNH) were also lower Monday after the health insurer gave 2013 earnings guidance that's below the current consensus analysts' expectations. Meantime, Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) 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) 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)and eBay ( EBAY) both rose, adding 1.6% and 4.9% respectively. More traditional retailers Wal-Mart ( WMT) and Target ( TGT) 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) shares jumped 8.1% after shares of the social media giant were upgraded to outperform from market perform at Bernstein. Generac Holdings ( GNRC) shares lost 9.3% after the generator maker announced a secondary offering of 11.5 million common shares. Insperity ( NSP) 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) 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. Follow @Commodity_Bull