New York - US stocks closed essentially flat on Wednesday on the eve of a crucial European Central Bank policy meeting amid hopes for action to stem eurozone financial turmoil.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 13,047.48, adding 11.54 points.
The S&P 500-stock index slipped 1.50 to 1,403.44, while the tech-rich Nasdaq fell 5.79 to 3,069.27.
"The US equity markets were nearly unchanged after a wait-and-see session on Wall Street today, as investors anxiously await tomorrow's European Central Bank meeting," Charles Schwab & Co. analysts said.
"Economists are expecting the ECB to cut rates, but will also be focused on whether a plan will develop to reenter the sovereign debt markets with unlimited but sterilised bond purchases," they said.
A profit warning from package-delivery giant FedEx, citing weak global demand, hit sentiment. Shares in the global bellwether dropped almost two percent.
On the Dow, American Express led decliners, down 2.4%, while Disney scored the biggest gain, 2.3%.
New smartphones were unveiled at two separate New York events.
Nokia plunged 15.9% to $2.38 after the struggling Finnish company introduced two new smartphones using the Windows Phone 8 operating system. Microsoft was unchanged.
"It feels like amateur's day out," said Paul Ausick at 24/7WallSt.com, lamenting the failure of the two tech giants to announce a launch date or a price.
Google's Motorola Mobility meanwhile unveiled three new Android-powered smartphones. The internet giant edged down 0.1%.
Facebook shares got a 4.8% boost after co-founder Mark Zuckerberg pledged to not sell any of his 500 million shares for another year, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
After sinking to a new intraday low on Tuesday of $17.55 - less than half the May IPO price of $38 - Facebook rebounded to $18.58.
Capital One dropped 0.6%. Dutch banking giant ING announced Wednesday it was to sell its stake in the US bank for $3bn.
Bond prices dipped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.59% from 1.58% on Tuesday, while the 30-year yield increased to 2.70% from 2.69%. Bond yields move inversely to prices.
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