Wall Street ended a fractious session slightly higher Wednesday after falling oil prices hurt energy stocks and overshadowed a stronger-than-expected productivity reading.
NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street ended a fractious session slightly higher Wednesday after falling oil prices hurt energy stocks and overshadowed a stronger-than-expected productivity reading. A Federal Reserve official’s comments on interest rates also soured the market’s early good mood.
A robust sales forecast from Cisco Systems Inc. gave a boost to technology stocks, however. The Labor Department’s productivity figures for the fourth quarter were nearly double what had been expected, but failed to offset concerns about falling oil prices.
“Crude hasn’t been able to get above $60 for three days so the energy names are weak,” said Neil Massa, equity trader at John Hancock Funds. He suggested some investors were simply taking profits.
According to preliminary calculations, the Dow was essentially flat, inching up 0.56, or less than 0.01 percent, to 12,666.87. The Dow moved past 12,700 for the first time in the session, trading as high as 12,700.28. The previous trading record of 12,683.93 was set Friday.
Broader stock indicators showed comparatively substantive gains. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 2.02, or 0.14 percent, to 1,450.02, and the tech-focused Nasdaq composite index, responding to Cisco’s news, rose 19.01, or 0.77 percent, to 2,490.50.
Bonds rose following the economic data, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note falling to 4.74 percent from 4.77 percent late Tuesday. The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices rose.
Light, sweet crude fell $1.17 to $57.71 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It had been up briefly after the Energy Department’s weekly domestic inventory data showed a small decrease in crude stockpiles.