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.
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.