Wall Street closes mixed

US stocks finish mixed as cautious investors await news on the Ukraine crisis.

United States stocks have finished mixed as cautious investors kept an eye on the Ukraine crisis and awaited more information on the direction of the economy.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 11.17 points, or 0.07%, to 16,340.08.

The S&P 500 lifted 0.57 of a point, or 0.03%, to 1,868.20, while the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 16.14 points, or 0.38%, to 4,323.33.

"Investors are cautious.... as global economic and geopolitical concerns cast a shadow on Wall Street," a market note from Wells Fargo Advisors said.

"Specifically, uncertainty over upcoming Chinese economic data and tensions between Russia and the Ukraine are weighing on stocks."

"The two headlines stories driving the market are China and perhaps still some thought about what is going on in Ukraine," David Levy of Kenjol Capital Management said, echoing the concern about whether China is still slowing down.

But Mr Levy noted that US markets still appear to have a firm floor in them, after the S&P 500 hit a fresh record last week.

"Lately any time we have the slightest pullback, we can't seem to pull the string together for multiple down days. It continues to show the strength of the market," he said.

Nutrition product company Herbalife sank 7.4% as the Federal Trade Commission launched a probe into its business operations. Its rival Nu Skin got a lift from the news, gaining 6.5%.

Shares in EPL Oil and Gas jumped 28.8% after Energy XXI said it will buy the company for $2.3 billion, a deal that will create a larger independent specialising in offshore production in the Gulf of Mexico. Energy XXI shares were down 7.8%.

Men's Wearhouse shares lost 2.4% on poor quarterly results announced a day after the company revealed a $US1.8 billion ($A2.01 billion) deal to buy rival Jos. A. Bank.

The company blamed a $US30.4 million quarterly loss on extreme winter weather for depressing shopping traffic and heavy promotions from competitors.

Fashion retailer Express sank 10.2% on earnings of 57 cents per share that missed expectations by two cents. Sales also underperformed. Chief executive Michael Weiss called the results "disappointing."

FarmVille creator Zynga got a 2.5% boost from the prospective $US7.6 billion valuation for rival King Digital Entertainment, maker of Candy Crush, in IPO documents it filed Wednesday.

Reports that the US Justice Department would investigate General Motors's slow decision to recall 1.6 million cars despite 10 years of complaints over dangerous ignition problems sent the stock falling 0.9 per cent, after Tuesday's 5.2 per cent tumble.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury fell to 2.73% from 2.77%, while the 30-year declined to 3.67% from 3.71%. Bond prices and yields move inversely.