The Nasdaq Composite advanced Thursday as Apple jumped a day after the iPad maker posted sound results, while the broader market held little changed amid concerns about escalating tension between Russia and Ukraine.
"The good thing was Apple's news. We had a mini-tech wreck here but now we're coming out of it," said Mike Serio, regional chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank.
The Dow ended literally flat at 16,501.61, the first time in 12 years that it registered no change on the day.
"Apple's beat alone added approximately 15 cents to S&P earnings per share, and added 0.5 percent to year-over-year growth on the S&P 500," Serio added.
Worries about Ukraine hit Germany's DAX equity index, which turned negative after reports quoting Russia's defense minister as saying Russian troops had begun military drills near the Ukrainian border.
"There are reports of escalating troop movement in Ukraine," said Art Hogan chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities. The fact that Germany's DAX index underperformed other major European markets "speaks to the local effect," he added.
"What we're going to have here for a while is an expanded risk premium for the Ukraine situation," said Serio.
In a related development, the International Monetary Fund on Thursday said Ukraine had met conditions for a financial aid package, which will be reviewed on April 30 when the IMF board meets.
The market is also contending with technical resistance, said Hogan. "Yesterday we had a failure to break out of the 1,885 level, so 1,884 was the high of the day, failing that reinvigorated some bears that think we're overdone. We have a tug of war here between is good news good enough to break out above that level," he said.