Stocks edged higher Monday after a strong sales report from McDonald's offset concerns about the surprise resignation of Italy's prime minister.
Investors also waited for developments in crucial U.S. budget talks.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 14.75 points to 13,169.88. The index traded within a narrow range of just 56 points throughout the day.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.03 percent to 1,418.55. The Nasdaq composite index ended up 0.30 percent at 2,986.96.
McDonald's rose 93 cents to $89.41. A key sales figure rose in November as its U.S. customers bought more breakfast offerings and limited-time Cheddar Bacon Onion sandwiches.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, who has been credited with restoring confidence in the nation's economy, announced that he would step down after former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's party dropped its support for his government.
Italian government bond yields, a critical measure of how much the country has to pay to borrow, jumped. Concern that the European debt crisis was enveloping Italy, one of the euro region's largest economies, helped stymie markets around the world earlier in the year.