Wall St quietly awaits plans from Europe - New York Report

THE S&P 500 index finished unchanged yesterday as investors were reluctant to make big bets while they waited for the outcomes of major talks involving Greece and Ukraine, but Apple helped boost the Nasdaq after an activist investor’s bullish comments.

Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis began tense talks with Eurozone finance ministers yesterday after his new left-wing government won a parliamentary confidence vote refusing extend an international bailout.

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said going into the meeting that the process would likely take time.

Adding to the market’s uncertainty, the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine began peace talks in Belarus, while in Ukraine pro-Moscow separatists added to pressure on Kiev by starting some of the war’s worst fighting.

The Nasdaq was boosted late in a lackluster session by a 2.3 per cent gain in Apple shares after activist investor Carl Icahn issued a letter saying the iPhone maker should be valued at $216 a share. Apple closed at $124.88.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 6.62 points, or 0.04 per cent, to 17,862.14, the S&P 500 lost a tiny 0.06 points, to 2,068.53 and the Nasdaq added 13.54 points, or 0.28 per cent, to 4,801.18.

PepsiCo finished up 2.5 per cent after the food giant reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit and announced share buyback plans. Wal-Mart shares fell 1.1 per cent.