Stocks squeezed out small gains in a thin, choppy session Wednesday, with the Nasdaq hitting multi-year highs, but gains were limited as Greek debt negotiations came to another halt.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 5.75 points, or 0.04 percent, to close at 12,883.95. BofA was the biggest gainer on the blue-chip index, nudging above the $8 level for the first time since early September. Meanwhile, AmEx dragged on the Dow.
The S&P 500 edged up 2.91 points, or 0.22 percent, to end at 1,349.96. The Nasdaq climbed 11.78 points, or 0.41 percent, to finish at 2,915.86.
Despite the day's lackluster session, all three major indexes have soared more than 20 percent from their early October lows. The blue-chip index is now about 10 percent away from the all-time high it hit in October 2007, while the S&P and Nasdaq are both on track for a sixth week of gains.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, finished near 18.
Among the 10 S&P sectors, banks gained, while energy sagged.
Greek parties are trying yet again to strike a reform dealin return for a new international rescue package to avoid a chaotic default, after a string of delays which have prompted some EU leaders to warn that the euro zone can live without Athens. (Read More: 'Greece Should Default Instantly')
In the latest over the Greek talks, German Deputy Finance Minister Steffen Kampeter criticized Greece, saying the debt-ridden nation has made little progress since 2010 and that there will be no "plan B" for the country.
“Once again, Greece continues to hold the keys on at least the short-term trend,” said Kenny Polcari, managing director of ICAP Equities. “[Stocks] are stuck in purgatory—the market has acted very well since December and for the whole month of January with no real pullbacks and I think we may have gotten ahead of ourselves even though there’s talk about improving macro-economic data.”
Polcari said traders are waiting for further news on the Greek debt deal negotiations.