Wall Street closed out a wobbly day of trading Tuesday with a mixed finish for the major stock indexes, as gains in banks and energy companies tempered losses elsewhere in the market.
The S&P 500 managed to rise 0.2% after wavering between small gains and losses for much of the day. The benchmark index was coming off two straight drops after setting a record high last Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.5%, while the Nasdaq composite closed 0.5% lower.
More than 60% of the stocks in the S&P 500 rose. Banks, energy stocks and household goods companies rose. Those gains were tempered by losses in technology and communication stocks, and a mix of companies that rely on consumer spending.
The price of U.S. crude oil rose 2.3% and wholesale gasoline rose 3.4% despite the fact that President Joe Biden ordered 50 million barrels of oil released from the nation’s strategic reserve to help bring down energy costs. The move was made in concert with other big oil-consuming nations.
Bond yields rose, adding to a broad move higher a day before that helped spur a late-afternoon sell-off in big technology and consumer-oriented stocks. Such stocks have seen their prices soar during the pandemic and can look less attractive when bond yields rise sharply.
“We're also seeing a continuation of the upward move today in the 10-year (Treasury) yield, but obviously that did not seem to hold back the Dow or the S&P 500,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA.
The S&P 500 rose 7.76 points to 4,690.70. The Dow gained 194.55 points to 35,813.80. The Nasdaq slipped 79.62 points to 15,775.14.
Small company stocks also lost ground. The Russell 2000 index fell 3.49 points, or 0.1%, to 2,327.86.
Bond yields rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.68% from 1.63% late Monday. That helped send banks higher. JPMorgan Chase rose 2.4%.
Oil and gas companies made solid gains as energy prices rose. Devon Energy rose 5.6%.
Several travel-related companies gained ground as people prepare to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday. Hilton Worldwide rose 1.3% and Expedia Group gained 2.7%.
Retailers were mixed ahead of the official start of the key holiday shopping season. Discount retailer Dollar Tree jumped 9.2% for the biggest gain in the S&P 500. Starbucks rose 1.9%. Best Buy slumped 12.3%, the biggest drop in the S&P 500, as concerns about tighter margins outweighed solid earnings.
Technology and communications companies also weighed on the broader market. Adobe fell 1.3% and Intel dropped 1.5%.
Zoom Video sank 14.7% a day after the video conferencing company reported that its third-quarter revenue growth slowed.
Stocks are likely to see more mixed trading this week, with markets closing on Thursday for Thanksgiving and then closing early on Friday.
“In this holiday-shortened week, lower volume leads to higher volatility,” Stovall said.
Still, Wall Street will get a few pieces of economic data on Wednesday that could give investors a better sense of the economic recovery's pace and breadth. The Labor Department will release its weekly report on unemployment benefits. The Commerce Department releases data on third-quarter gross domestic product and its new home sales report for October.
Also on Wednesday, the Federal Reserve will release minutes from its October interest-rate meeting, potentially giving investors more details on the central bank's plan to start trimming bond purchases that have helped keep interest rates low.
Investors have been watching to see if pressure from rising inflation will goad the Fed into speeding up its plans for trimming bond purchases and raising its benchmark interest rate.