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December 05 2012, 02:00AM

US stocks have opened mixed, getting a lift from European market gains while US politicians continued to wrangle over a budget plan that would avoid the year-end "fiscal cliff."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 12.40 points (0.10 per cent) to 12,978.00 in the first few minutes of trade.

The broad-market S&P 500 edged down 0.72 point (0.05 per cent) to 1408.74, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite fell 5.13 (0.17 per cent) to 2997.07.

The action came after the stock indexes started December in loss mode on Monday, with Washington's budget impasse weighing on sentiment.

"With the economic calendar empty, the unresolved fiscal cliff is likely to continue to command the lion's share of the Street's attention," said Charles Schwab & Co analysts.

On Monday, Republicans responded to President Barack Obama's deficit-reduction proposal with their own plan that raises half the income proposed by Obama and opposes a tax rate increase for the rich.

The White House swiftly rejected the counter-offer, leaving a stalemate less than a month ahead of the sharp automatic tax increases and spending reductions that take effect in January.