U.S. stocks stall on European concerns
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stock gains evaporated Tuesday as investors looked to a gathering of European leaders the next day, with concern about Europe overriding cheer that came with upbeat housing data.
"We're still fighting the downward pressure, I think a lot of that is related to Europe," said Andrew Fitzpatrick, director of investments at Hinsdale Associates in Hinsdale, Ill.
"The outcome doesn't need to be anything too dramatic or too complex, the market is just looking for some sort of progress," said Fitzpatrick of Wednesday's session of European Union leaders.
After a 71-point rise, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) relinquished nearly 2 points to end at 12,502.81.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX) added nearly 1 point to 1,316.63, with natural-resource companies leading the losses among its 10 industry groups.
The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) fell 8.13 points, or 0.3%, to 2,839.08.
Late in the session, Dow Jones Newswires published comments from Greece's former prime minister warning the economic impact of Greece leaving the euro zone would be severe. The euro (EURUSD) slid below $1.27 after the reported remarks.Read more on euro's reaction.
Stocks had gained after the National Association of Realtors reported sales of existing homes last month climbed for the first month in four, up 3.4% in April. Read more on home sales.
"The housing data has to be considered good news because some kind of stabilization in housing would be an important positive or at least the removal of a big negative for the economy," said Ken Tower, a senior analyst at Quantitative Analysis Service.
The more housing improves, the better equities should do, offered Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG LLC.
"Looking back several years, the relationship has been unsurprisingly tight and we see no reason to think that the relationship will weaken going forward," Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG LLC, wrote in an emailed note
Advancers ran just ahead of decliners on the New York Stock Exchange, where nearly 846 million shares traded. Composite volume neared 4.1 billion. Among Nasdaq listed shares, volume was 1.8 billion.
Oil prices (CLM2) fell 91 cents to close at $91.66 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while gold futures lost $12.10 to finish at $1,576.60 an ounce on the Comex division of Nymex. Read more on oil futures.
But Towers thinks the hand-wringing could prove short-lived. "The IPO wasn't managed very well, but the problems are probably transitory. It doesn't effect the number of users and the amount of potential revenue."