US stocks were mixed in mid-morning trade Tuesday as Washington continued to wrangle over a budget plan that would avoid the year-end "fiscal cliff."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 17.67 points (0.14 percent) to 12,983.27 by 11:00 am (1600 GMT).
The broad-market S&P 500 edged down 1.54 points (0.1 percent) to 1,407.92 while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite fell 13.02 (0.43 percent) to 2,989.18.
The action came after the stock indexes started December in loss mode Monday, with the budget impasse weighing on sentiment.
"With the economic calendar empty, the unresolved fiscal cliff is likely to continue to command the lion's share of the Street's attention," said Charles Schwab & Co. analysts.
On Monday, Republicans responded to President Barack Obama's deficit-reduction offer with their own plan that raises half the income proposed by Obama and opposes a tax rate increase for the rich.
The White House swiftly rejected the counter-offer, leaving a stalemate less than a month ahead of the sharp automatic tax increases and spending reductions that take effect in January.
The stocks in focus included chipmaker Qualcomm, down 0.3 percent, after striking a capital injection deal with cash-strapped Japanese electronics giant Sharp.
US health care giant Baxter International fell 1.1 percent after announcing it will buy Swedish dialysis products firm Gambro for $4 billion.
Meanwhile, home builder Toll Brothers, which reported quarterly earnings that were above analysts' estimates, slipped 0.1 percent.
Autozone tumbled 2.1 percent. The auto retailer posted fiscal first-quarter profits that topped expectations.
Bond prices rose. The 10-year US Treasury yield slipped to 1.62 percent from 1.63 percent late Monday, while the 30-year dropped to 2.79 percent from 2.81 percent.
Bond prices and yields move inversely.