The Dow Jones industrial average ended down 17 points after moving between small gains and losses throughout the day. The index traded within a range of only 82 points, the narrowest since July 20. The relatively tepid trading came a day after the Dow surged 330 points, its largest increase since Aug. 11.
Greece has been on the brink of defaulting on its debt for months. If that happens, it would hurt European and U.S. banks by decimating the value of Greek government bonds they own. Those banks would then be less likely to lend to each other and to businesses. That could plug up an already weak global economy, with implications for everything from bank stocks to international trade.
The Dow lost 16.88 points, or 0.1 percent, to close at 11,416.3. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.65 point, or 0.1 percent, to 1,195.54 The Nasdaq composite rose 16.98, or 0.7 percent, to 2,583.03.
Aluminum maker Alcoa Inc. plunged 5.6 percent in after-hours trading after reported that its earnings slumped from the previous quarter, suggesting demand from Europe has slowed.
Markets have been swinging wildly since early August, when Europe’s economy suddenly seemed closer to the brink of collapse.