Wall Street little changed, near record highs

Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:32pm EDT
 
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By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Tuesday as investors found few reasons to push the S&P 500 above its recent record high, as tensions in Ukraine continued.

Despite setting a record high on March 7, the S&P 500 has been range-bound over the last few sessions, amid a dearth of corporate earnings or data-related incentives to push equities higher.

"The market has growing pains here, and rightfully so," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.

"Basically we are at high levels, there are a lot of warnings out there, a lot of signs the market may be topping out."

Investors were also wary in light of events in Ukraine. A pro-Russian force opened fire in seizing a Ukrainian military base in Crimea on Monday and NATO announced reconnaissance flights along its eastern frontiers as confrontation around the Black Sea peninsula showed no sign of easing.

On Tuesday, ousted leader Viktor Yanukovich insisted he remained Ukraine's legitimate president and commander-in-chief, saying he would return to Kiev and appealing to the armed forces to defy any "criminal orders" handed down by his foes.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 15.42 points, or 0.09 percent, to 16,434.1, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 1.91 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,879.08 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 12.958 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,347.405.

U.S. wholesale inventories rose 0.6 percent in January, more than the 0.4 percent expected, as companies built up stocks of autos and machinery, though sales posted their largest decline in nearly five years.   Continued...

 
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange March 11, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid