The Dow Jones Industrial Average topped 13,000 for the first time since May 2008 before falling back to close nearly flat Tuesday, in a bumpy day spurred by news of a new bailout deal for Greece.
After a slow start, the blue-chip index pushed across the key level to touch 13,005.04, last seen when the markets began to sink in early 2008 as the financial crisis broke and a deep recession took hold.
But disappointing results from Wal-Mart and tumbling transportation stocks as fuel prices soared weighed on the markets.
The Dow finally closed up 15.82 points (0.12%) at 12,965.69.
The broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.98 points (0.07%) to 1,362.21, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite slipped 3.21 (0.11%) to 2,948.57.
Shares mainly took their cue from the long-awaited deal reached in Brussels early Tuesday on a new bailout of Greece.
The deal -- which analysts say still harbors deep weaknesses -- includes a 107 billion euro ($141 billion) writedown of the country's debt by private debt holders and 130 billion euros in new financing from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
"Chalk one up for European leaders as they were finally able to agree to the second bailout package for Greece. Now the hard work begins -- reinventing Greece's economy," said Scott Atkinson of Briefing Research.
"The main problem is that, after years of economic contraction, the eurozone does not seem to realize that Greece's problems will not be solved without a strategy for growth," said IHS Global Insight analysts.
Crossing the 13,000 line marked the market's continuing comeback after it plummeted from a high of 14,164 on Oct. 9, 2007, to 6,440 some 17 months later.
It "adds a little level of excitement" to trading, said Mace Blicksilver of Marblehead Asset Management
"The market is reacting properly to it. It is a small positive" on top of the Greece debt deal, he said
On the other hand, the deal sent oil prices soaring, and that in turn savaged the share prices of airlines.
US Airways plunged 11.4%, United Continental 9.1%, JetBlue 8.8% and Delta 7.2%.
Alcoa picked up 2.6% after initialing a joint venture in key market China with China Power Investment Corp.
Wal-Mart sank 3.9% after it missed earnings forecasts for its fourth quarter in part due to heavy price-cutting in the industry during the busy Christmas season.
Bond prices slipped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.05% from 2.01% on Friday, while the 30-year rose to 3.19% from 3.16%.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012