Energy shares were among the biggest decliners of the day
U.S. stocks ended mixed on Wednesday, 06 December 2017 as weakness in the energy sector spurred some minor selling that offset a recovery in the technology sector. The S&P 500 ended essentially unchanged on the day, although it closed in slightly negative territory. That made for its fourth straight lower close, its longest losing streak since March.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 39.73 points, or 0.2%, to 24,140.91. The S&P 500 fell by 0.3 point to 2,629.27. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 14.16 points to 6,776.38, a gain of 0.2%.
On the data front, private-sector employers added 190,000 jobs in November, which was above expectations but below the rate added in October. Separately, the increase in productivity of American firms and workers was unchanged at 3% in the third quarter under the government's first do-over of its original report.
There are concerns in the U.S. about the potential for a partial government shutdown, and the Trump administration's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital threatens to spark unrest across the Mideast. In addition, investors continue to keep an eye out for developments in the Brexit talks after U.K. and European Union officials on Monday failed to reach a deal that would move negotiations on to the second stage.
Bullion prices ended on a mixed note on Wednesday, 06 December at Comex. Gold futures eked out a gain on Wednesday to settle above a four-month low, with market pinning the rebound in part on geopolitical worries. Silver dropped.
February gold rose by $1.20, or less than 0.2%, to settle at $1,266.10 an ounce, after Tuesday's 1% slide to its lowest settlement in about four months. It remains down so far for the week, showing a decline of more than 1%, after posting declines in each of the last two sessions. March silver fell 0.7% to $15.956 an ounce.
Crude oil prices finished lower on Wednesday, 06 December 2017 at Nymex as a weekly jump in U.S. gasoline stockpiles that was more than twice what the market expected pulled crude futures to their lowest level since mid-November and gasoline futures to their lowest settlement in about seven weeks.
January West Texas Intermediate crude lost $1.66, or 2.9%, to settle at $55.96 a barrel on the New York Mercantile. Brent oil for February gave up $1.64, or 2.6%, to $61.22 a barrel.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday that domestic crude supplies fell 5.6 million barrels for the week ended Dec. 1. That was bigger than the forecast for a decline of 4.1 million barrels. The EIA pegged last week's domestic crude inventories at 448.1 million barrels.
In the bond market, U.S. Treasuries rallied on Wednesday, sending yields lower across the curve. The yield on the benchmark 10-yr Treasury note dropped three basis points to 2.33%, while the 2-yr yield also lost three basis points, settling at 1.80%.
Elsewhere, European equities finished the midweek session mixed, while the major Asian indices moved broadly lower. Japan's Nikkei dropped 2.0%, marking its biggest one-day drop since March, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 2.1%, which is its worst one-day decline in 13 months.
On Thursday, investors will receive November Challenger Job Cuts at 7:00 ET, weekly Initial Claims (consensus 240K) at 8:30 ET, and October Consumer Credit (consensus $17.0 billion) at 15:00 ET.
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