* Concerns about China's economy, Italy's political
* Investors take breather with stocks at high levels
* Retail stocks, including Target, Macy's rise
* Dow down 0.1 pct, S&P flat; Nasdaq flat
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, March 4 Wall Street was little changed
on Monday as investors took worries about global growth and the
euro zone debt crisis as opportunities to take a breather from
equities that have risen near record highs.
Stocks faced technical resistance as they climbed in recent
weeks without a significant or prolonged pullback. The S&P and
Dow are up more than 6 percent and 7 percent, respectively, for
the year so far.
"We are hitting a bit of technical resistance here, but the
momentum is still there and the market is still seen
undervalued. It could be anything that pushes the market above
this level soon," said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at
Banyan Partners LLC.
Trading was volatile with the indexes starting the session
lower, then fluctuating between positive and negative. The Dow
Jones industrial average was down 12.67 points, or 0.09
percent, at 14,076.99. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was up 0.28 point, or 0.02 percent, at 1,518.48. The Nasdaq
Composite Index was up 1.18 points, or 0.04 percent, at
The Dow is less than 1 percent away from hitting its
life-time closing high, while the S&P is 3 percent below its
Retail stocks were among the strongest, with Target Corp
up 2.8 percent to $65.95, Macy's Inc gaining 2.2
percent to $41.56 and Best Buy Co Inc rising 2.1 percent
Plans to tighten curbs on the housing market in China and a
slowdown in growth of that country's services sector prompted
worries about growth in the world's second largest economy.
China's services industries expanded at the slowest pace in
five months in February.
Also weighing on the market was the possibility of another
Italian election, causing more uncertainty about the euro zone's
The $85 billion in across-the-board U.S. spending cuts began
taking effect over the weekend. Signs the cuts are beginning to
take a toll on the economy could jostle markets.
Providing some support for the market, Janet Yellen, the
Federal Reserve's influential vice chairwoman, said the central
bank's aggressive monetary stimulus is warranted given how far
below its full potential the economy is operating.
Hess Corp rose 3.8 percent to $69.04 after it said
it will exit its retail, energy marketing, and energy trading