Markets closed mixed today:
▼ Dow: -0.20 percent
▲ Nasdaq: +0.78 percent
▲ S&P: +0.14 percent
▲ Gold: up +0.06 percent to $1,627.40 an ounce
▲ Silver: up +0.22 percent to settle at $28.67
▼ Oil: -0.98 percent
Markets were up because:
Crisis-weary investors scoffed Monday at what had appeared to be a hopeful turn in the European debt crisis: a victory for pro-Europe parties in a Greek election. U.S. stocks were little changed, and borrowing costs for Spain surged to alarming levels.
Investors appeared fed up with policy makers' inability to resolve a crisis that has bedeviled markets for more than three years. Leaders of the most developed countries are meeting in Mexico to discuss the crisis and the slowing global economy.
U.S. indexes opened lower then drifted between modest gains and losses. Homebuilders rallied after a measure of confidence among U.S. builders rose to a five-year high.
Spanish borrowing rates spiked Monday above levels that forced other countries to take bailouts, a sign that bond investors fear Spain will default on its debts.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 25.35 points, or 0.2 percent, to 12,741.82. The Nasdaq composite index rose 22.53 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,895.33. It was lifted by Apple, its biggest component, which rose $11.65, or 2 percent, to $585.78.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 1.94 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,344.78. Of its 10 major industry categories, only financials and energy stocks fell. Banks would be hit hard if the European crisis spun out of control. Energy companies followed oil prices lower.
Many had expected stocks and other risky investments to rally on relief that the conservative party in Greece won. But the broader scope of Europe's financial burdens soon overshadowed whatever breathing room the election provided.
Safe investments rose and riskier ones fell as traders continued their long vigil for a more permanent solution in Europe. Leaders there are considering a centralized system of bank regulation and deposit insurance to complement proposals of closer economic coordination.
Attention shifted Monday toward Spain and Italy, both of which will require international help if they can't convince bond investors that their finances are sound. Benchmark stock indexes closed down 3 percent in Spain and 2.8 percent in Italy.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.58 percent from 1.63 percent earlier Monday as demand increased for low-risk investments.
The yield on Spanish 10-year bonds jumped as high as 7.18 percent, the highest since Spain joined the euro. Only a week ago, Europe unveiled a massive bailout of Spain's banks intended to reassure investors about the nation's finances.
Greece, Ireland and Portugal needed bailouts after their borrowing costs rose above 7 percent. It looks like tiny Cyprus will need a bailout as well.
Energy prices, which are sensitive to investors' expectations of future economic growth, fell. Benchmark crude for July delivery slid 76 cents to $83.27 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.