US stocks falter on worries over euro

US stocks edged lower yesterday on stalled Greek debt talks, but an afternoon rally cut losses in a sign of the underlying resilience the market has shown early in the year.

Major indexes had fallen more than one per cent as negotiations between the Greek government and private bondholders over the restructuring of €200bn of debt failed to reach an agreement before the start of a summit of European leaders.

But by the afternoon those losses were cut sharply. Optimism that the US markets can shrug off Europe’s troubles has fuelled gains in 2012, with the S&P 500 up 4.7 per cent this month.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 6.74 points, or 0.05 per cent, to 12,653.72. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 3.31 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 1,313.02. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 4.61 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 2,811.94.

Financial shares were hurt the most by developments in Europe with the sector losing one per cent.