US markets up on McDonald’s and tech stock

US stocks edged higher yesterday Monday, helped by gains in McDonald’s after the fast-food giant posted strong sales results, and a move up in technology shares.

Technology stocks were the S&P 500’s best-performing sector as Hewlett-Packard climbed 2.9 per cent to $14.20 on rumours that activist investor Carl Icahn is building a stake in the PC maker. The stock is down 44.5 per cent for the year and ranks as the Dow’s worst performer.

Tech was also supported by Cisco Systems, which gained 2.4 per cent to $19.79 after the company presented its midterm growth strategy on Friday. Yesterday’s rally put the stock on track for its fifth advance in the past six sessions.

US President Barack Obama met with Republican House Speaker John Boehner on Sunday to negotiate a budget deal. A Boehner aide said yesterday that talks are continuing.

Persistent worries about the negotiations over the “fiscal cliff”, a series of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that could hurt economic growth next year, have kept market moves small of late.

“There is a general sense that if a deal is struck, that we could have a further advance in the market at the end of this year as well as the first part of next year,” said Michael Sheldon, of RDM Financial in Westport, Connecticut.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 23.03 points, or 0.18 per cent, at 13,178.16. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 0.71 of a point, or 0.05 per cent, at 1,418.78. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 7.35 points, or 0.25 per cent, at 2,985.39.