U.S. stocks were little changed on Wednesday (December 19) as investors found scant reason to continue buying following the best two-day rally for the S&P in a month.
The Nasdaq notched slight gains, helped by technology shares following strong results at Oracle Corp.
The S&P added 2.3 percent over the past two sessions, the first time it has notched two straight days of 1 percent gains since late July. The advance came as the latest offers in ongoing U.S. budget negotiations supported hopes for a deal.
President Barack Obama's most recent offer to Republicans in the ongoing fiscal talks made concessions on taxes and social programs spending, amid concerns from Senate Democrats. House Speaker John Boehner said he remained hopeful about an agreement, though the offer was "not there yet."
Tech shares were the top gainers of the day after Oracle reported earnings that beat expectations on strong software sales growth. Shares of Oracle rose 3.7 percent to $34.08 (USD), making it the biggest percentage gainer on the S&P 500.
FedEx Corp reported second-quarter revenue that beat expectations, but said earnings had been impacted by Superstorm Sandy. Shares rose 2.3 percent to $94.44.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 2.60 points, or 0.02 percent, to 13,353.56. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index dropped 0.52 points, or 0.04 percent, to 1,446.27. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 3.08 points, or 0.10 percent, to 3,057.61.
Equities have had difficulty maintaining strong gains amid concerns over the "fiscal cliff," a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts many fear could push the economy into recession if they take effect next year.