S&P 500 erases early losses to end flat; energy, tech up
The S&P 500 ended nearly flat on Tuesday as concerns about global weakness and political turmoil were offset by gains in technology and energy shares.
The index managed to nearly erase a 1.3 percent decline from earlier in the day, moving more than 26 points to its high of the day from its low.
Energy and technology shares boosted the market and the Nasdaq ended the day higher. Apple (AAPL.O) shares climbed 1.5 percent to $114.12, giving the Nasdaq and S&P 500 their biggest boost. Small-cap stocks also bounced, with the Russell 2000 index .TOY gaining 1.8 percent.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the New York Stock Exchange by a ratio of 1.53 to 1. Still, the number of NYSE stocks making new 52-week lows was 255, compared with just 117 new highs.
"The market in general is digesting a very big move since its October 15 low," said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital in New York. "Less than two months ago we were flat for the year, so investors are hypersensitive to potential downdrafts in the market at this stage in the game."
Greece unnerved investors after the government brought a presidential vote forward in a political gamble that raised uncertainty over the country's transition out of its bailout.
Brent crude LCOc1 rebounded to settle up 1 percent after hitting a fresh five-year low of $65.29. Oil prices have been under pressure as the dollar strengthened and OPEC decided against an output cut, with Brent down more than 40 percent from its June high.
The S&P energy index .SPNY ended up 0.9 percent after losing 3.9 percent on Monday.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 51.28 points, or 0.29 percent, to 17,801.2, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.49 points, or 0.02 percent, to 2,059.82 and the Nasdaq Composite.IXIC added 25.77 points, or 0.54 percent, to 4,766.47.
Adding to the cautious tone was uncertainty over whether the U.S. Federal Reserve will change its pledge to keep rates near zero for a "considerable time" when policymakers meet next week.
U.S. telecom stocks led losses on the S&P 500 and Dow on concerns about an industry price war. Verizon Communications (VZ.N) warned that promotions in its wireless business would bite into its fourth-quarter profit.
The S&P telecom index .SPLRCL lost 3.2 percent while Verizon shares fell 4 percent to $46.92.
About 7.3 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, above the 6.5 billion average this month, according to BATS Global Markets.
The S&P 500 is up 10.6 percent from its Oct. 15 close and is up 11.4 percent for the year so far.
U.S.-listed shares of Seadrill (SDRL.N) gained 5.2 percent to $12.17. John Fredriksen, the biggest owner of the offshore driller, purchased another 1.3 million shares in the firm to raise his stake to 24.15 percent.
After the bell, shares of Yum Brands (YUM.N) fell 4.6 percent to $71.80 following its forecast for next year.