Stocks were little changed on Wednesday after a three-day rally as investors waited to see if an audit of Greece's finances would lead to granting more aid to the country to avoid default.
Inspectors from the European Union and International Monetary Fund headed to Greece to scrutinize new austerity measures they must endorse for Athens to get the next installment of aid. Greece's parliament approved a deeply unpopular property tax on Tuesday.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel suggested that parts of a planned new $148.6 billion rescue for the debt-laden country could be reopened, depending on the audit's outcome.
A push to solidify a euro zone rescue fund and alleviate the region's sovereign debt crisis lifted stocks on Tuesday for a third consecutive session, following four straight days of losses for the benchmark S&P 500. The S&P gained more than 4 percent over that three-day period.
There's a sense that European leaders are finally coming to a resolution, but given our recent gains there's not much reason or room to move forward from here until we get more details, said David Joy, chief market strategist at Ameriprise Financial.
The material sector was by far the weakest on the S&P, dropping 2.7 percent. The group has rallied in recent session on optimism over developments in Europe.
Cliffs Natural Resources Inc sank 7 percent to $56.50 while Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc lost 5.4 percent to $33.92. Gold prices fell 1.4 percent, while crude was off 2.5 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 2.65 points, or 0.02 percent, at 11,193.34. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 3.20 points, or 0.27 percent, at 1,172.18. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 9.24 points, or 0.36 percent, at 2,537.59.
Market direction also may be influenced by quarter-end window dressing, as portfolio managers drop underperforming stocks and buy outperformers.
Amazon.com Inc gained 4.4 percent to $234.09 after it unveiled a new tablet computer with a $199 price tag. Apple Inc, which makes the popular iPad tablet, rose 0.2 percent to $400.16.
This is encouraging for Amazon and it's having something of a spillover effect for the broader tech sector, said Joy, who helps oversee $571 billion in assets. This could be an encouraging sign for the consumer sector in the electronics space.
Microsoft Corp rose 1.2 percent to $25.96 after Samsung Electronics Co Ltd unveiled software pacts with the company.
In earnings news, Jabil Circuit Inc advanced 7.4 percent to $18.66 a day after reporting fourth-quarter earnings that beat expectations, while Family Dollar Stores Inc slid 0.3 percent to $54.02 after its results.
In economic news, orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods slipped in August on weak demand for motor vehicles, but a rebound in a gauge of business spending suggested the economy would avoid another recession.
(Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Kenneth Barry)