Stocks edged higher in early trading on Tuesday, adding to recent gains, but investors mostly stayed on the sidelines in a session expected to produce light volume.

The S&P 500 has risen for four straight sessions and turned positive for the year on Friday, with improving economic data helping to boost equities. The gains, which lifted the benchmark index above its 200-day moving average, were amplified by the light pre-holiday trading.

The market will do nothing today because of how light the volume is, said Donald Selkin, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York.

We could trend higher because we're in a seasonally strong time of year and because stocks are cheap, but we might also see a bit of a selloff in response to last week's gains.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 28.91 points, or 0.24 percent, at 12,322.91. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> added 3.91 points, or 0.31 percent, at 1,269.24. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> put on 7.61 points, or 0.29 percent, at 2,626.25.

In the latest economic data, consumer confidence rose more than expected in December, hitting an eight-month high, as Americans grew more upbeat about the labor market and their financial situations. Equities barely budged after the data.

But U.S. single-family home prices fell slightly more than expected in October, according to S&P/Case-Shiller data, coming after better-than-expected data on the sector last week.

Going into the last trading week of the year, the Dow is up 6.2 percent, the S&P is up less than 1 percent and the Nasdaq is down 1.3 percent.

Sears Holdings Corp slid 20 percent to $36.73 in heavy volume and was the biggest decliner on the S&P. The retailer plans to close 100-120 Kmart and Sears stores and sees adjusted fourth-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization falling by more than half from a year ago.

MetLife Inc , the largest U.S. life insurer, will sell about $7.5 billion worth of deposits in its MetLife Bank to a General Electric Co unit as it looks to exit the banking business. MetLife rose 1.5 percent to $31.56 while GE was down 0.3 percent at $18.17.

Bank of America Corp , which is lagging behind major U.S. competitors in complying with new capital rules, may sell more assets, sources said. Shares of the Dow component fell 0.7 percent to $5.56.

(Reporting By Ryan Vlastelica; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)