The Dow and S&P clawed back into positive territory at the close Wednesday, adding to the sharp rally from the previous session, but gains were limited over renewed fears over the euro zone debt crisis.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 21.04 points, or 0.17 percent, to close at 12,418.42, led by Alcoa . Verizon was the biggest laggard on the blue-chip index.
The S&P 500 added 0.24 points, or 0.02 percent, to close at 1,277.30. The Nasdaq slid 0.36 points, or 0.01 percent, to end at 2,648.36.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, ended near 22.
Among key S&P sectors, health care finished lower, while consumer discretionary rose.
“We had a good rally yesterday but we’re taking a step back [today] and realizing that the things that have been plaguing us in the second half of last year are still there,” said Ryan Detrick, senior technical strategist at Schaeffer’s Investment Research. “Liquidity issues out of Europe are dominating talk once again and dose of reality is coming back.”
European shares closed loweramid worries over the region's massive debt refinancing in the first quarter.
Commercial banks' overnight deposits at the ECBhit a fresh record high of 453 billion euros ($591 billion), stressing the ongoing worries that banks have about lending to each other.
UniCredit plunged after Italy's biggest bank priced a 7.5 billion euro ($9.8 billion) capital hike at a 43 percent discount.
And an auction of 5 billion euros ($6.5 billion) of 10-year German bunds was only just covered, while the yield fell further.