U.S. Stocks Wobble Into Thanksgiving Break in Light Trading 


Stocks wobbled on Wednesday and finished little changed before the Thanksgiving legal holiday in the U.S.

The market was positive for most of the day, but its gains dissipated in the final minutes of trading. Last week the markets made their biggest weekly jump of 2015, but the indexes have hardly budged this week.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 1.20 points to 17,813.39, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 0.27 points to 2,088.87. The Nasdaq composite index picked up 13.33 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,116.14.

U.S. markets will be closed Thursday for Thanksgiving. They will reopen Friday but will close at 1 p.m. Eastern.

A rebound by drugmakers Pfizer and Allergan boosted the health care sector, while consumer stocks like e-commerce giant Amazon.com and home retailer Home Depot rose in the last trading day before Black Friday unofficially kicks off the year-end shopping period.

Pfizer rose 90 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $32.87 and Irish counterpart Allergan added $8.83, or 2.8 percent, to $320.26. On Monday the two drugmakers said they would combine in a deal valued at about $155 billion.

Agricultural equipment maker Deere rose after its fiscal fourth-quarter results and projections for the current fiscal year were better than analysts expected. While sales of tractors and bulldozers and other machinery have dropped, Deere has slashed its costs. The stock rose $3.66, or 4.8 percent, to $80.

Hewlett-Packard reported earnings for the final time Tuesday night, weeks after the tech giant formally split into two separate companies. HP, which inherited the parent company’s PC, printer and commercial software business, sank $2, or 13.7 percent, to $12.64 as its sales weakened. Hewlett Packard Enterprise gained 43 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $14.12. Sales of hardware for data centers, including servers and networking devices, improved.

Energy stocks, which surged Tuesday, gave back some of their gains even though the price of oil increased slightly. The U.S. government said crude oil stockpiles rose last week. They are at their highest levels in at least 80 years.

NRG Energy lost 44 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $12.18. ConocoPhillips fell 94 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $54.38.

The price of U.S. crude rose 17 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $43.04 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, picked up five cents to $46.17 a barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline rose 0.6 cents to $1.396 a gallon. Heating oil inched up 0.3 cents to $1.403 a gallon. Natural gas rose 0.6 cents to $2.206 per 1,000 cubic feet.

The Commerce Department said consumer spending inched up 0.1 percent in October, the second small gain in a row. Despite weak spending in September and October, economists think spending will keep growing because the labor market is strong.

Metals prices slipped after making gains on Tuesday. Gold declined $3.80, or 0.4 percent, to $1,070 an ounce. Silver declined a fraction of a cent to $14.158 an ounce. Copper fell 0.9 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $2.046 a pound.

Bond prices ticked higher, and the yield on the 10-year Treasury inched down to 2.23 percent from 2.24 percent. The euro fell to $1.0617 from $1.0655 on Tuesday. The dollar rose to 122.72 yen from 122.44 yen.