Major U.S. equity indexes were little changed on Wednesday after investors digested a key report on the housing market, though the Nasdaq rose on a semiconductor licensing agreement.

Dow component General Motors Corp shares slumped 12.5 percent to $1.26 as the largest U.S. automaker prepared for the fallout from a failed debt exchange, which pushes the company closer to a bankruptcy filing expected by the end of the month.

The National Association of Realtors said sales of existing homes in the United States rose 2.9 percent in April, climbing to an annual rate of 4.68 million units.

The Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction index <.DJUSHB> added 1 percent.

Everybody wants to see the market correct a little bit, said Kevin Kruszenski, Head of Listed Trading, KeyBanc Capital Markets in Cleveland.

I don't think anybody thinks that housing is getting better by any means, a lot of these numbers that are coming out are historic lows, so until you see real significant moves toward home sales, back up above 5 million or something, that will indicate the activity is really picking up.

Analysts said that the data was evidence that home sales are stabilizing but that inventories would keep pressure on house prices.

Semiconductor stocks helped lift the Nasdaq after Sandisk Corp, up nearly 18 percent to $16.01, renewed its NAND flash memory chip license with Samsung Electronics <005930.KS>.

The PHLX Semiconductor index <.SOXX> jumped 3.2 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 8.04 points, or 0.09 percent, to 8,465.45. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> added 2.02 points, or 0.22 percent, to 912.35. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> gained 14.90 points, or 0.85 percent, to 1,765.33.

Since reaching a low in early March, the Dow has gained more than 29 percent and the S&P 500 has risen nearly 35 percent.

Bank of America Corp shares rose 0.8 percent to $11.08 after the company said that it raised $26 billion in its capital plan to date. The Federal Reserve had set a $33.9 billion buffer for the bank under the Treasury Department's stress test.

Staples slipped 0.3 percent to $20.34 after the office products retailer reported adjusted first-quarter earnings that were 1 cent a share above Wall Street forecasts, boosted by cost savings in its Corporate Express unit.

Monsanto Co shares fell 5 percent to $80.99 after the agricultural products maker said that it was on track to meet the lower end of its prior fiscal year 2009 guidance.

Through Tuesday, 97 percent of S&P 500 companies had reported earnings, with 65 percent topping Wall Street estimates.

Also on the housing front, the Mortgage Bankers Association said that the highest home loan rates in more than two months drained demand for refinancing last week, dragging total U.S. mortgage applications to the lowest level since early march.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)