Updated from 2:59 p.m. EDTStocks in the U.S. finished little changed Thursday, as traders balanced weak quarterly reports out of the financial sector and another record for crude oil against strong technology earnings. After falling by as many as 72 points earlier, the Dow Jones Industrial Average clawed its way back and finished down 3.58 points, or 0.03%, to 13,888.96. The S&P 500 was off 1.16 points, or 0.08%, to 1540.08. The Nasdaq Composite eked out a gain of 6.64 points, or 0.24%, to 2799.31. "We're still seeing leadership from the technology sector, mostly related to earnings, but outside of that there's nothing leading us higher," said Paul Nolte, director of investments with Hinsdale Associates. "The market has come up so fast from the August bottom, and valuations are set now that a slowdown won't affect earnings going forward." Breadth was negative. On the New York Stock Exchange 2.65 billion shares changed hands, as decliners topped advancers by a 6-to-5 margin. Volume on the Nasdaq reached 1.94 billion shares, with losers outpacing winners nearly 8 to 7. Stocks initially took a hit after financial heavyweights Bank of America ( BAC) and Washington Mutual ( WM) offered disappointing reports. Bank of America reported a plunge in profits as "unprecedented market disruptions impacted trading results." Shares ended down $1.18, or 2.4%, to $48.85. At Washington Mutual, third quarter results showed a 72% decline in profit from a year ago. The bank said after the prior close that continuing problems in the housing market affected the value of its portfolio of mortgage loans. WaMu lost $2.55, or 7.7%, to $30.52.