By Akane Otani
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Major U.S. stock indexes ended little changed on Wednesday, as tensions in Ukraine and Russia and a failed merger between Sprint and T-Mobile offset gains in consumer staples shares.
An initial selloff took the S&P 500 to its 100-day moving average, but by the last hour of trading, the benchmark index was back near the unchanged mark. Sectors posted mixed performances, with four of the S&P's 10 industry sectors ending with gains.
The S&P 500 telecom services sector <.SPLRCL> slipped 1.3 percent and was the worst-performing industry, with AT&T
Investors have been expecting a correction, but selloffs this year have generally been brief.
"We've had a lot of forces pushing the markets, whether it's earnings season, employment numbers or geopolitical concerns, but I think if people were really concerned about an invasion in Ukraine or the Middle East, you would see more than a 2 or 3 percent selloff," said Gary Flam, portfolio manager at Bel Air Investment Advisors in Los Angeles.
NATO reported that Russia has around 20,000 combat-ready troops on the eastern border of Ukraine that it could use to invade. Further souring the mood, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Moscow's biggest economic response to Western sanctions so far.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> rose 13.87 points, or 0.08 percent, to 16,443.34. The S&P 500 <.SPX> was up 0.03 point, or 0 percent, to 1,920.24, and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 2.22 points, or 0.05 percent, to 4,355.05.
On the upside, Molson Coors Brewing Company
Twenty-First Century Fox Corp
About 6.4 billion shares traded on all U.S. platforms, according to BATS exchange data, compared with the five-day average of 6.8 billion.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,804 to 1,222, for a 1.48-to-1 ratio on the upside. On the Nasdaq, 1,597 issues rose and 1,056 fell for a 1.51-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.
(Editing by Nick Zieminski and Leslie Adler)