NEW YORK -- Technology stocks fell Wednesday, dragged down by a weak earnings report from the business software maker Oracle Corp.

Broad market indexes were flat, with the Dow Jones industrial average eking out a small gain.

Oracle plunged 14 percent after it said it was struggling to close deals, adding to worries that businesses and the government may cut back on technology spending.

Investors also had more to worry about abroad. Data showed extensive lending from the European Central Bank to European banks. The initial reaction was positive, then worry set in that the banks need so much help in the first place.

--The Dow rose 4.16, less than 0.1 percent, to close at 12,107.74.

--The S&P 500 rose 2.42, or 0.2 percent, to 1,243.72.

--The Nasdaq composite fell 25.76, or 1 percent, to 2,577.97.

New union-election rules seen as win for labor

WASHINGTON -- In a win for organized labor, the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday approved sweeping new rules that would speed the pace of union elections, making it easier for unions to gain members at companies that have long rebuffed them.

Business groups quickly denounced the move, saying it limits the time that employers have to educate workers about the impact of joining a union. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce already has filed a lawsuit challenging the rules.

The rules, which take effect April 30, simplify procedures and reduce legal delays that can hold up union elections after employees at a work site gather enough signatures to form a union.

Unions said the old rules allowed companies to file frivolous appeals, stalling elections. The new rules could help unions make inroads at businesses like Target and Wal-Mart, which have successfully resisted union organizing for years.

Existing home sales up; past figures overstated

WASHINGTON -- The number of Americans who bought previously occupied homes rose last month, but the National Association of Realtors said it overstated about 3.5 million sales during and after the Great Recession, showing that the housing market remains much weaker than previously thought.

The private trade group said sales rose 4 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.42 million.