Despite the slow pace of the talks, the stock market has gained back nearly all of a post-election slide caused by concerns about the fiscal impasse. The S&P is now about 1.5 percent below where it was on Nov. 6. In mid-November it had dropped as much as 5 percent.
Bill Gross, the managing director of fund manager PIMCO, told investors in his regular newsletter that they should expect annualized bond returns of 3 to 4 percent at best in the future and stock returns that are "only a few percentage points higher."
The S&P 500 has risen 12 percent this year. High debt levels and slowing global growth will weigh on the economy, Gross said.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell 1 basis point to 1.61 percent.
Among other stocks making big moves:
— Big Lots gained $3.23, or 11.5 percent, to $31.27 after the discount retailer raised its full-year earnings forecast and reported a loss that wasn't as bad as analysts had expected.
— Pep Boys fell $1.11, or 10.4 percent, to $9.57 after posting a loss on weak sales at the company's auto stores and reporting rising costs.
— MetroPCS fell 81 cents, or 7.5 percent, to $9.96 after Reuters reported that Sprint isn't currently considering making a counter offer for the cellphone business. MetroPCS and T-Mobile said in October that they had agreed to combine their businesses.