NEW YORK, March 12 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks pared earlier losses to end narrowly mixed Wednesday, as investors were troubled by lingering concerns about Ukraine.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched down 11.17 points, or 0. 07 percent, to 16,340.08. The S&P 500 rose 0.57 point, or 0.03 percent, to 1,868.20. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 16.15 points, or 0.37 percent, to 4,323.33.
The tech-rich Nasdaq snapped a four-day losing streak while the blue-chip Dow dropped for three consecutive days.
U.S. President Barack Obama said Wednesday in his meeting with Ukraine's new Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in Washington that they will "stand with Ukraine and consider Russian incursion into Crimea against the law".
European Union reportedly approved a framework of sanctions on Russia, including travel restrictions and asset freezes, after the parliament of Ukraine's autonomous republic of Crimea adopted on Tuesday a declaration of independence, which specifies that Crimea will become independent if its residents vote in favor of splitting from Kiev to join Moscow in Sunday's referendum.
In the past two days, Wall Street had staged a slight pullback, with the benchmark S&P 500 halting its record run seen last week, as investors were reluctant to increase exposure to risky stocks amid ongoing uncertainties in Ukraine.
However, the market recouped part of earlier losses, ending near session highs, as traders were still optimistic with the U.S. equity market overall.
The economic calendar was light Wednesday, providing little direction to stocks.
U.S. mortgage applications last week slid 2.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, said the Mortgage Bankers Association.
In corporate news, shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac extended their steep dives, tumbling 12.16 percent and 16.83 percent, respectively, one day after the release of a Senate proposal to phase out financiers of the government-owned mortgage.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered as a fear gauge of the market, dipped 2.23 percent to end at 14.47.
In other markets, the U.S. dollar continued falling against most major currencies on Wednesday amid concerns over Ukraine and China's economy.
The greenback fell versus the yen and Swiss franc for a second day as demand for safe-haven assets expanded.
In late New York trading, the euro rose to 1.3903 dollars from 1.3871 dollars in the previous session. The dollar bought 102.69 Japanese yen, lower than 102.90 yen of the previous session.
Oil prices fell as U.S. crude inventories climbed more than expected last week.
U.S. crude inventories gained 6.2 million barrels last week, according to the Energy Information Administration report Wednesday, beating market expectation of 2 million barrels.
Light, sweet crude for April delivery moved down 2.04 dollars to settle at 97.99 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for April delivery lost 53 cents to close at 108.02 dollars a barrel.
Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange Wednesday closed at the highest level since Sept. 9 due to worries over Ukraine.
The most active gold contract for April delivery rose 23.8 dollars, or 1.77 percent, to settle at 1,370.5 dollars per ounce.