US Close: Stocks remain mixed as Obama tackles debt ceiling

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LONDON (ShareCast) - - US President Barack Obama refuses to negotiate debt ceiling raise
- Dell (NasdaqGS: DELL - news) gains on news its in talks about going private
- Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL - news) reportedly cuts orders for iPhone components due to weak demand

US equities remained little changed by close as President Barack Obama refused to negotiate with Republicans over raising the debt ceiling.

Obama declined to trade cuts in government spending in exchange for increasing the borrowing limit, according to various reports.

Republican leaders continued to stress that the debt limit should be accompanied by spending cuts.

"If the goal is to make sure that we are being responsible about our debt and our deficit - if that's the conversation we're having, I'm happy to have that conversation," Obama said.

"What I will not do is to have that negotiation with a gun at the head of the American people," he told a news conference.

It comes two weeks after an agreement to prevent the so-called fiscal cliff of $600bn in spending cuts and tax hikes was made.

While the legislation - which raised taxes for high earners - helped to ease the burden, the government has a long road ahead to fix the budget deficit.

Leaders are facing a February deadline to address the need to raise the debt ceiling, automatic deep spending cuts temporarily put off in the fiscal cliff deal, and the end of a stopgap government funding measure.

Dell Inc rocketed 12.96% following reports the PC maker was in talks with at least two private equity firms about going private.

Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE: ANR - news) drove down the S&P 500 as shares declined 3.77%.

Hewlett-Packard jumped 4.89% following reports the Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman received nearly $15.4m in fiscal 2012 during her first full year in the role, receiving only 70% of her targeted compensation as it posted a net loss for the year.

Verizon Communications Inc dropped 1.55% as the company continued to kick around the idea of buying Verizon Wireless outright from joint venture partner Vodafone (LSE: VOD.L - news) .

Apple Inc. was making headlines as the company fell 3.57% on news it had cut orders for components for the iPhone 5 due to weaker-than-expected demand.

Treasury 10-year note yields traded close to a one-week low, falling by a one basis point, or 0.01 percentage point, to 1.86%, according to Bloomberg Bond Trader prices.

Front month West Texas crude futures were up 0.69% to the 94.210 dollar mark on the NYMEX.

RD