U.S. Stocks Mostly Slip Away From Their Latest Record Highs


U.S. stocks mostly slipped away from their latest record highs Wednesday as the two former halves of Hewlett-Packard both tumbled, while falling interest rates helped phone companies but hurt banks.

The price of oil jumped on reports OPEC and a group of other countries might extend the cuts in production they made at the start of this year. That took energy companies higher. Hewlett Packard Enterprise sank after it said CEO Meg Whitman will retire, while printer and PC maker HP lost ground after its latest quarterly report.

Interest rates fell after the Federal Reserve released minutes from its latest meeting, which ended Nov. 1. While most officials were comfortable raising interest rates soon, as investors think they will do in December, a few Fed leaders think rates should stay where they are until there is more evidence inflation is rising.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dipped 1.95 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,597.08. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 64.65 points, or 0.3 percent, to 23,526.18. The Nasdaq composite rose 4.88 points, or 0.1 percent, to a record 6,867.36. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 2.13 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,516.76.

All four indexes closed at record highs Tuesday, and on Wednesday most of the companies on the New York Stock Exchange finished higher.

U.S. markets will be closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday. They will be open Friday until 1 p.m. ET.

Bond prices started the day with small gains, which sent yields lower. Yields moved lower still as investors looked over the Federal Reserve minutes. The Fed has already raised interest rates twice this year in spite of low inflation, and Wren, of Wells Fargo, said investors may get jumpy as they examine economic data in the next few weeks and try to figure out how fast the Fed will move next year.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.32 percent from 2.36 percent. That sent banks lower because lower yields translate to smaller profits on loans. Cincinnati Financial fell 80 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $72.66. Phone companies, which pay big dividends similar to bonds, climbed higher. Verizon Communications rose 92 cents, or 2 percent, to $47.10.

The dollar also weakened as investors expected lower interest rates. It sank to 111.17 yen from 112.44 yen. The euro rose to $1.1822 from $1.1742.

U.S. crude rose $1.19, or 2.1 percent, to $58.02 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 75 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $63.32 a barrel in London. Both oil benchmarks are at two-year highs.

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, will meet in Vienna next week to discuss their goals.

Gold added $10.50 to $1,292.20 an ounce. Silver rose 15 cents to $17.11 an ounce. Copper rose 1 cent to $3.14 a pound.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline lost 1 cent to $1.77 a gallon. Heating oil remained at $1.93 a gallon. Natural gas skidded 5 cents to $2.97 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Germany’s DAX lost 1.2 percent while the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.1 percent and France’s CAC 40 slipped 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.

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