Wall Street was little changed on Tuesday as fighting in Libya and chances of a interest hike in Europe kept investors from making new bets on stocks.
European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet and other ECB policymakers have reiterated they are ready to act quickly to guard against inflation.
We still have the Middle East and North Africa and Japan weighing on the market, but we have wiped out most of the year's gains on these issues. This leaves more room for a rebound, said Steve Goldman, market strategists at Weeden & Co in Greenwich, Connecticut.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 7.72 points, or 0.06 percent, at 12,028.81. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 1.91 points, or 0.15 percent, at 1,296.47. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 4.29 points, or 0.16 percent, at 2,687.80.
In company news, Walgreen Co reported a higher profit as the drugstore chain filled more prescriptions, but the stock declined 6.5 percent at $39.19.
On the upside, Sprint Nextel Corp shares rose 1.1 percent at $4.42, rebounding from the previous day's hefty losses. The chief executive of Verizon Wireless said he has no interest in buying Sprint Nextel even as the company stands to lose its top position in the U.S. wireless market because of a merger between AT&T Inc and T-Mobile USA.
(Reporting by Angela Moon; Editing by Kenneth Barry)