Stocks were mixed in volatile trading on Monday as euro zone officials played down reports of plans to slash Greece's debts and recapitalize European banks to cope with the fallout and after a decline in U.S. home sales.
Sales of new single-family homes in the United States fell in August to a 6-month low, according to government data, in a sign the housing market continued to struggle.
Sales of new homes are still very depressed and prices are still sliding, said Gary Thayer, chief macro strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors in St. Louis.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 96.91 points, or 0.90 percent, to 10,868.39. The S&P 500 <.SPX> rose 4.68 points, or 0.41 percent, to 1,141.11. The Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 10.18 points, or 0.41 percent, to 2,473.05.
The broad S&P 500 zigzagged in and out of losses, and eight of the ten S&P sector indexes were in positive territory.
Among the top Dow gainers, Boeing Co
European officials said reports that plans were already in place for a 50 percent writedown in Greek debt and a vast increase in the euro zone rescue fund were highly premature.
Markets have been focused on European moves to contain its credit crisis that has Greece teetering toward a default.
A lot of the day-to-day movement in European markets has to do with investors' estimation on which way the political will is moving, said Jack de Gan, chief investment officer at Harbor Advisory Corp in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
We're heading for another volatile week, he said.
Technical problems stalled the opening of the Dow Jones Industrial Average for more than 10 minutes. As a result, the Dow did not accurately reflect its components' stock prices, DJ Indexes said.
The index provider cited technical difficulties in the real-time calculation system between the open at 9:30 a.m. and 9:42 a.m., a DJ Indexes spokesperson said.
The 30-stock average showed a flat open while most of its components traded higher. After the problem was fixed, the DJIA rose more than 1 percent to a session high of 10,898.32.
Dow Jones Indexes said the issue affected the Dow Jones industrial average, the transportation average <.DJT>, the utility average <.DJU> and the composite average <.DJA>.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)