Stocks were little changed on Wednesday as uncertainty over what Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would tell a Senate committee blunted optimism after a stream of solid earnings.
Anxious investors hoped the Fed chief would provide a fresh outlook on the health of the world's biggest economy as well as policy signals from the central bank.
Some traders said Tuesday's late rally came on speculation the Fed would try to spur lending by eliminating the interest paid on excess bank reserves held at the Fed.
Yesterday, the rumors were the rally was sparked ahead of what Bernanke potentially might say. Now we've got some apprehension here, said Ryan Detrick, senior technical strategist at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati, Ohio.
So there is the 'What is Bernanke going to say? Is he going to try and keep the pedal to the metal in terms of interest rates low, add a new wrinkle?'
The unease erased initial gains made after Morgan Stanley reported higher-than-expected profit despite weak industry trends and Wells Fargo & Co posted lower profit but said losses on commercial and consumer loans fell.
Morgan Stanley climbed 9.5 percent to $27.62, while Wells Fargo rose 4.3 percent to $27.02.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 12.23 points, or 0.12 percent, to 10,242.19. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> added 0.48 points, or 0.04 percent, to 1,083.96. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> dropped 8.90 points, or 0.40 percent, to 2,213.59.
Apple Inc jumped 2.4 percent to $257.92 after an unusually upbeat revenue forecast late Tuesday calmed concerns that iPhone 4 antenna problems would dampen sales.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)