End of mixed actions, oil prices rise despite release of crude
Wall Street closed a wobbly trading day on Tuesday with a mixed finish for major stock indexes, as gains by banks and energy companies dampened losses elsewhere in the market.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index ended the day up 0.2% after fluctuating between small gains and losses for much of the day. The benchmark index had just suffered two consecutive declines after setting a record on Thursday. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.5%, while the Nasdaq composite closed 0.5% lower.
Over 60% of S&P 500 stocks rose. Banks, energy stocks and housewares companies rose. These gains were tempered by losses in tech and communications stocks, and a mix of companies that rely on consumer spending.
The price of U.S. crude oil rose 2.3% and wholesale gasoline by 3.4% despite the fact that President Biden ordered the release of 50 million barrels of oil of the country’s strategic reserve to help reduce energy costs. This decision was made in concert with other major oil-consuming nations.
Bond yields rose, adding to a general upward movement a day earlier, this helped spur a late afternoon sell-off in major tech and consumer-focused stocks. These stocks have seen their prices skyrocket during the pandemic and may look less attractive when bond yields rise sharply.
“We are also seeing a continuation of the bullish movement today in the [Treasury] yield, but that obviously didn’t seem to hold back the Dow Jones or the S&P 500, ”said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA.
The S&P 500 gained 7.76 points to 4,690.70. The Dow Jones advanced 194.55 points to 35,813.80. The Nasdaq lost 79.62 points to 15,775.14.
Small business stocks also lost ground. The Russell 2000 Index lost 3.49 points, or 0.1%, to 2,327.86.
Bond yields have increased. The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 1.68% from 1.63% on Monday night. This helped push up bank stocks. JPMorgan Chase rose 2.4%.
Oil and gas companies made solid gains from rising energy prices. Devon Energy rose 5.6%.
Several travel-related businesses have gained traction as people prepare to travel for the Thanksgiving vacation. Hilton Worldwide rose 1.3% and Expedia Group gained 2.7%.
Retailers were mixed before the official start of the holiday shopping season. Discount retailer Dollar Tree jumped 9.2% for the S&P 500’s biggest gain. Starbucks was up 1.9%. Best Buy fell 12.3%, the biggest drop in the S&P 500, as concerns about squeezing margins outweighed strong earnings.
Technology and communications companies have also weighed on the broader market. Adobe fell 1.3% and Intel fell 1.5%.
Zoom Video fell 14.7% a day after the video conferencing company reported that third-quarter revenue growth had slowed.
Stocks are expected to experience more mixed trading this week, with markets closing Thursday for Thanksgiving, then closing early Friday.
“In this shortened holiday week, lower volume results in higher volatility,” Stovall said.
Nonetheless, Wall Street will receive some economic data on Wednesday that could give investors a better idea of the pace and extent of the economic recovery. The Ministry of Labor will publish its weekly report on unemployment benefits. The Commerce Department will release data on the third quarter gross domestic product and its new home sales report for October.
Also on Wednesday, the Federal Reserve will release the minutes of its October interest rate meeting, potentially giving investors more details on the central bank’s plan to start cutting bond purchases that helped keep interest rates low.
Investors watched to see if pressure from higher inflation would prompt the Fed to step up its plans to cut bond purchases and increase its benchmark interest rate.