U.S. Stocks Eke Out Tiny Gains After a Sluggish Day


U.S. stocks mustered a slight gain in the final moments of trading on Monday, capping a day of listless action that had the market headed for a downbeat close.

A slide in oil prices hammered energy stocks, including Chevron and Exxon Mobil, which ended up as the biggest decliners in the Dow Jones industrial average. Other commodities also fell, hurt by a strengthening dollar.

Investors had their eye on company earnings from Morgan Stanley, Hasbro and others. Both companies tumbled after their results left investors less-than-impressed.

All told, the Dow rose 14.57 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,230.54. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 0.55 points, or 0.03 percent, to 2,033.66. The Nasdaq composite rose 18.78 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,905.47.

Major stock indexes have closed higher for three days in a row.

Five of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 rose, led by consumer discretionary stocks, which gained 0.5 percent. The sector is up 9 percent this year.

Energy stocks fell the most, 1.9 percent. The sector is down about 15 percent this year, hurt by the slide in oil prices. Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.37 on Monday to close at $45.89 a barrel in New York.

Shares in Exxon Mobil fell $1.49, or 1.8 percent, to $80.99, while Chevron slid $1.26, or 1.4 percent, to $90.03.

The dollar edged up to 119.48 yen and the euro fell to $1.1326.

Investors are tuned into earnings as they hunt for insight into how the global economy is doing.

Roughly 57 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 index report earnings over the next two weeks. That works out to about 117 companies this week, including Verizon Communications, eBay, Caterpillar and Alphabet. Another 170 companies in the S&P 500 report earnings next week.

Stock markets overseas were mixed. Germany’s DAX rose 0.6 percent, while France’s CAC 40 rose 0.03 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 inched down 0.4 percent. In Asia, China’s Shanghai Composite Index lost an early gain to end down 0.1 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng ended little changed. Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.9 percent.

Data released Monday showed that China’s economic growth decelerated in the latest quarter but relatively robust spending by Chinese consumers helped to avert a deeper downturn. The world’s second-largest economy grew by 6.9 percent in the three months ended in September, down from the previous quarter’s 7 percent and the slowest since early 2009 in the aftermath of the global crisis. Growth of 6.8 percent had been forecast by analysts.

In other energy trading, Brent Crude, which is used to price international oils, slid $1.85 to $48.61 a barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline fell 7.7 cents to close at $1.251 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while heating oil fell 4.8 cents to close at $1.449 a gallon. Natural gas edged up 1.2 cents to close at $2.442 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In metals trading, gold fell $10.30 to $1,172.80 an ounce, silver dropped 27 cents to $15.84 an ounce and copper lost four cents to settle at $2.37 a pound.

U.S. government bond prices rose slightly. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.02 percent.