May 25, 2012 / 2:39 PM / 8 years ago

REFILE-US STOCKS-Wall St little changed, investors focus on Greece

(Fixes day to Friday in lead)

* French banks drawing up Greek euro zone exit contingency plans- sources

* U.S. consumer sentiment climbs in May, highest since Oct 2007

* Stocks off: Dow 0.4 pct, S&P 0.1 pct, Nasdaq 0.2 pct

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, May 25 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed in volatile trading on Friday as fresh warnings about Greece kept investors away from risky assets.

Despite the weak start, the S&P 500 was on track to post its best weekly gain in over two months. Trading has been choppy all week, with stocks usually opening lower or little changed but adding gains heading into the close.

Volume was also expected to be light as traders stay away from making new bets or positions heading into the Memorial Day holiday weekend. U.S. markets will be closed on Monday.

French banks, which are among the lenders most exposed to Greece, have stepped up their efforts on contingency plans for the debt-laden country leaving the euro zone, sources familiar with the situation said.

The heightened preparations by banks, including Credit Agricole, BNP Paribas and Societe Generale , come after euro zone sources told Reuters earlier this week that each member of the common currency would have to prepare a plan for a possible Greek exit.

Belgian deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders issued a new warning over Greece, saying it would be a “grave professional error” if central banks and companies were not preparing for a Greek exit from the euro zone.

Energy stocks were among the day’s top gainers. Chesapeake Energy Corp rose 2.4 percent to $15.95, up for the second day after the company announced it has put a half-million acres in Wyoming and Colorado up for sale.

Data showed Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers’ final May consumer sentiment index rose to 79.3 from 77.8 in the preliminary May report. It was the highest level since October 2007. Market reaction was muted.

Morgan Stanley will adjust thousands of trades to ensure outstanding limit orders to sell will be filled at no more than $42.99 a share for Facebook stock from last Friday’s botched initial public offering, the firm told its brokers on Thursday, according to several who listened to the call. Facebook shares were down 2.9 percent at $32.07.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 44.95 points, or 0.36 percent, at 12,484.80. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 1.69 points, or 0.13 percent, at 1,318.99. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 6.40 points, or 0.23 percent, at 2,832.98.

Editing by Dave Zimmerman

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