With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, U.S. stocks are little changed Wednesday after they finished at all-time highs the day before. The price of oil is rising on reports OPEC might extend its cuts in production, and energy companies are also up. Technology companies are taking losses as the two former halves of Hewlett-Packard tumble.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dipped 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,597 as of 1 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 62 points, or 0.3 percent, to 23,527. The Nasdaq composite rose 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,866. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 1,520, and most of the companies on the New York Stock Exchange traded higher.
All four major indexes closed at record highs Tuesday, led by gains for technology and health- care companies, as well as industrial and basic materials stocks. U.S. markets will be closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday and trading will end early on Friday.
ENERGY: Reuters reported that Saudi Arabia, the biggest oil exporter in the world, wants the OPEC cartel to extend this year’s cut in oil production for another nine months. The nations of OPEC, as well as other major oil producers including Russia, will meet in Vienna next week to discuss their goals. U.S. crude rose 90 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $57.73 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 41 cents to $62.98 a barrel in London. Both oil benchmarks are at two-year highs.
Chevron rose 77 cents to $115.94 and pipeline operator Williams Cos. gained 49 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $27.73. Marathon Oil advanced 28 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $14.80.
HP HICCUP: The two main companies that once comprised Hewlett-Packard took the largest losses in the S&P 500. Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which sells data-center hardware and tech gear, dropped $1.10, or 7.8 percent, to $13.02 after it said Meg Whitman will retire as CEO on Feb 1. President Antonio Neri will replace her. Whitman became CEO of Hewlett-Packard in 2011 and oversaw its split in 2015. It also reported mixed fourth-quarter results.
Analysts said they were surprised by the timing because Whitman suggested last month that she wasn’t leaving soon. Like several other analysts, Steven Milunovich of UBS said Neri is a good choice, but that Whitman will be hard to replace.
“Whitman’s star power could be missed when competing with the likes of Michael Dell, Chuck Robbins, and Ginni Rometty for large enterprise deals,” he said, referring to the CEOs of Dell, Cisco Systems and IBM.
Meanwhile HP Inc., which sells PCs and printers, had a solid quarter but couldn’t sustain the gains it’s made this year. The stock fell $1.42, or 6.3 percent, to $21.04. It’s up more than 40 percent in 2017.
GREENER PASTURES: Farm equipment maker Deere posted a bigger profit and better sales than analysts expected, and it also gave surprisingly strong forecasts for its new fiscal year. The stock climbed $5.70, or 4.1 percent, to $144.93.
STILL NO: Industrial equipment and software maker Rockwell Automation said it rejected another offer from Emerson Electric. Rockwell said the third bid was still too low and not in the best interest of the company. Emerson offered to buy Rockwell for $200 a share in August, raised it in October, and then bumped its bid to $225 a share, or about $29 billion, last week. Rockwell fell $2.62, or 1.4 percent, to $190.40 while Emerson rose $1.47, or 2.4 percent, to $61.82.
PAINT BY NUMBERS: Axalta Coating Systems climbed after it ended talks with one potential suitor but said it is talking to Nippon Paint about a possible sale. Axalta entered into talks with Dutch company AkzoNobel recently, but it said Wednesday that those discussions have ended. Axalta gained $1.75, or 5.2 percent, to $70.08.
GAME ON: Video game retailer GameStop jumped $1.16, or 7 percent, to $17.89 after it had a stronger quarter than Wall Street expected. The company said sales of new video game systems and software both improved, and so did collectible sales. The stock has been trading at five-year lows.
BONDS: Bond prices edged higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.34 percent from 2.36 percent.
CURRENCIES: The dollar sank to 111.55 yen from 112.44 yen. The euro rose to $1.1794 from $1.1742.
OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX lost 1.2 percent while the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.1 percent and France’s CAC 40 fell 0.2 percent. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.5 percent and the Hang Seng index of Hong Kong advanced 0.6 percent. The Kospi in South Korea rose 0.4 percent.