Stocks Finish Mixed As Greece Worries Return

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Wall Street finished on a mixed note Tuesday as concerns about Greece's potential exit from the eurozone resurfaced in the final hour of trading.

Stocks had been higher for most of the day, getting a lift from fresh data providing more evidence of an improving U.S. housing market and a lull in the negative headlines from Europe.

Late in the day though, former Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos was quoted as saying the country was considering preparations for a potential exit from the single-currency bloc.

European leaders are set to meet Wednesday to discuss ways to soften austerity measures that are causing political turmoil in Greece and other weaker European nations. They will also discuss other controversial policies including the creation of eurozone bonds, which has been stiffly resisted by Germany.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished just below the flat line, down 1.5 points to close at 12,503. Earlier in the session, the blue-chip index traded as high as 12,576.

The S&P 500 inched up less than a point, or 0.15%, to finish at 1316. The Nasdaq slid more than 8 points, or 0.3%, to settle at 2839.

Breadth within the Dow was mixed with 15 components losing ground, 14 in the green, and Walt Disney ( DIS) closing unchanged. Alcoa ( AA) and Pfizer ( PFE) were among the bigger percentage losers within the blue-chip index.

Bank of America ( BAC) and JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) enjoyed the biggest gains.

Shares of JPMorgan were up nearly 5%, even as regulators at the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission said they were investigating its recently disclosed $2 billion trading loss.

In the broad market, capital goods, financials and utilities were the strongest sectors, while energy and basic materials stocks slumped.

After the bell, shares of Dell ( DELL) were shedding nearly 9% after the PC giant reported disappointing first-quarter results and gave a weak guidance, citing a "challenging" economic environment.

Stocks were higher most of the day though, getting some lift after the National Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales rose 3.4% to a seasonally-adjusted-annual-rate of 4.62 million in April, which was slightly above expectations of 4.6 million units, according to economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters. The April figure rose from the downwardly-revised March rate of 4.47 million.

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