“Stocks slipped into negative territory Tuesday after trading mixed for most of the morning amid ongoing discussions in Washington on how to avert the looming "fiscal cliff."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped into the red, dragged by JPMorgan and Home Depot, after snapping a three-day winning streak in the previous session. Hewlett-Packard rallied.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were in negative territory. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, traded above 17.

Among key S&P sectors, health care held small gains, while consumer discretionary and techs dragged.

Headlines over the negotiations have dominated market action in the recent weeks. Analysts say a deal before the year-end could trigger a rally.

President Barack Obama said there is not enough time this year to come up with a full overhaul of the U.S. tax system and entitlement programs as Republicans want as a condition for an agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff.

On Monday, the White House rejected a deficit reduction proposal made by House Republicans, which called for $800 billion in revenues through tax reforms and $600 billion in health savings among other offers.

Campbell Soup became the latest major company to declare a special dividend. So far, nearly 100 companies with a market cap over $240 million have announced special dividends, valued at almost $23 billion have been announced in the fourth quarter, ahead of next year's possible tax increase on dividends.

Facebook unveiled a mobile messenger app in an aim to grow its user base and mobile revenue. Starting Tuesday, anyone with a mobile phone can sign up for Facebook Messenger, using just a name and phone number.

Autozone posted earnings that edged past expectations by two cents a share, but shares of the largest U.S. auto parts retail chain slipped as revenue fell slightly short of expectations.

Big Lots jumped after the retailer posted a narrower-than-expected loss and boosted its full-year forecast to above estimates.

Toll Brothers rallied after the luxury homebuilder reported earnings that beat expectations and said new orders rose sharply.

Pandora and Mattress Firm are among companies scheduled to post earnings after the closing bell.

Agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland raised its bid for Australian grains handler GrainCorp to $2.9 billion and bought more shares of the company.

Baxter International edged lower after the medical device maker said it will acquire Swedish company Gambro in a deal worth $2.76 billion to broaden its dialysis product portfolio.

European shares gained, boosted by financials amid a meeting between European finance ministers, in which proposals for a single bank supervisor are expected to be discussed.”