(By Balachander) U.S. stocks closed on a mixed note as worries about discussions to increase the government's debt ceiling dented sentiment. Investors also weighed some mixed economic readings and await earnings reports from major banks.
The S&P 500 Index inched 0.11 percent higher to end at 1,472.34. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.20 percent to finish at 13,534.89. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 0.22 percent to close at 3,110.78.
President Barack Obama rejected any talks with Republicans over the debt ceiling. "The debt ceiling is not a question of authorizing more spending," Obama said at a White House news conference on Monday. "Raising the debt ceiling does not authorize more spending."
On Monday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke urged U.S. lawmakers to raise the debt ceiling. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, meanwhile, said the ceiling could be reached by mid-February or early March unless Congress increases the $16.4 trillion borrowing limit.
Ratings agency Fitch said "failure to raise the debt ceiling in a timely manner will prompt a formal review of the U.S. sovereign ratings."
On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department reported December retail sales and core retail sales rose 0.5 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively. Retail sales topped economists expectations of a 0.2 percent rise, while core sales came in line.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Labor Department said core producer price index last month rose 0.1 percent, matching economists expectations. The headline index declined 0.2 percent, versus estimate of a fall of 0.1 percent.
The Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicated that conditions for New York manufacturers continued to drop at a modest pace and was negative for a sixth straight month. The New York Federal Reserve's empire state manufacturing index tumbled to negative 7.8 in January from negative 7.3 in December.
U.S. earnings gathers steam with major banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), Bank of America Corp. (BAC), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Citigroup (C) reporting their results this week. General Electric Co. (GE), Intel Corp. (INTC) and eBay Inc. (EBAY) are also due to post their quarterly numbers in the unfolding week.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: AAPL, DELL, FB, LULU, DNR, EXPR, BGFV, COOL
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) lost 3.15 percent. Nomura reduced price target on the stock to $530 from $660.
Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) jumped 7.16 percent amid rumors that the PC maker is discussing with two buyout firms over going private.
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) retreated 2.74 percent after the social networking giant unveiled a new search feature dubbed "graph search" that lets users to search the web through the data the company owns.
Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ: LULU) fell 3.91 percent after the maker of athletics and yoga apparel forecast fourth-quarter revenue below market expectations.
Denbury Resources Inc. (NYSE: DNR) gained 5.21 percent after the oil and natural gas company agreed to buy properties in the Cedar Creek Anticline (CCA), a series of producing oil units, for $1.05 billion from ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP).
Express Inc. (NYSE: EXPR) spiked 23.76 percent after the apparel retailer lifted its earnings and comparable sales forecast for the fourth quarter due to stronger-than-expected holiday season performance.
Genesco Inc. (NYSE: GCO) surged 8.53 percent. The footwear retailer expects 2013 adjusted earnings from the low end to the middle of its previous forecast as a result of sales shift. Comparable sales for the company's e-commerce and catalog direct sales businesses increased 17 percent in the quarter-to-date period.
Big 5 Sporting Goods Corp. (NASDAQ: BGFV) shot up 12.82 percent after the sporting goods retailer posted a 6.5 percent same-store sales growth for the fourth quarter, better than market expectations.
Majesco Entertainment Co. (NASDAQ: COOL) tumbled 28.77 percent after the gaming software company reported a quarterly loss and offered a downbeat guidance amid declining sales of core products on legacy platforms.
European markets closed mixed, with Germany's DAX down 0.69 percent to close at 7,675.91. France's CAC40 fell 0.29 percent to finish at 3,697.35. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 added 0.15 percent to end at 6,117.31.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index advanced 0.60 percent to close at 2,325.68. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.72 percent to finish at 10,879.08. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slipped 0.14 percent to end at 23,381.51. India's BSE Sensex ended 0.38 percent higher at 19,981.68.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Crude oil futures dropped 0.73 percent to $93.45 per barrel while natural gas futures jumped 1.99 percent to $3.44 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures gained 0.55 percent to $1,678.60 per ounce and silver futures rose 0.84 percent to $31.37 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro fell 0.51 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.3314. The British pound lost 0.06 percent against the greenback to 1.6069, and the dollar shed 0.72 percent against the Japanese yen to 88.8400.