Stocks trimmed their losses heading into Wednesday's close, finishing with narrow declines after ongoing political uncertainty in Italy overtook Cyprus as traders' primary worry. The Nasdaq managed to end just in the green. The Dow Jones Industrial Average backed away from yesterday's all-time high while the S&P 500 remain stalled just two points away from its best-ever close.
Italy Is A 'Mess'
Stocks fell earlier Wednesday after efforts to form an Italian coalition government failed. The head of Italy's center-left alliance, Pier Luigi Bersani, ruled out forming a coalition government and said that only an "insane person" would want to govern Italy, later saying the country is a "mess".
Elsewhere in Europe, Cypriot authorities were expected to announce capital controls later Wednesday in preparation for the country's supposed reopening of its banks on Thursday. The banks have been shuttered since March 16 to prevent a run on deposits.
On the domestic front, data showed contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes fell last month, held back by a shortage of properties although there was little to suggest the housing market recovery was stalling. The National Association of Realtors said its U.S. Pending Home Sales Index slipped 0.4% during February. Economists had been expecting a 0.2%decline.
Commodity prices were mixed, with oil down $0.45, at $95.89 a barrel. Natural gas pushed through the $4 mark, up $0.063 to $4.054 per million BTUs.
Gold futures were up $5.90 at $1603.20 per ounce, while silver slipped $0.204 to $28.475 per ounce. Copper was up $0.0015 to $3.444.
Here's Where The Markets Stood At Day's End
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