Amy Caren Daniel
(Reuters) – U.S. stocks were slightly lower on Wednesday as a drop in crude oil prices pressured energy shares, offsetting gains in technology and bank stocks.
The S&P 500 index slipped after coming within spitting distance of a record high following a four-day rise. It is nearly half a percent away from the all-time high it hit on Jan. 26.
The energy sector .SPNY dropped 0.79 percent and weighed the most on the S&P index as crude oil prices fell more than 1.5 percent on slowing Chinese demand and trade issues.
“As the trade war expands investors are likely to become hesitant in terms of investing and that is creating a little bit of a pull-back,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.
“Volume is light so we are not seeing much pressure on the downside since investors are not willing to step up to the plate at this time.”
At 11:16 a.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 18.18 points, or 0.07 percent, at 25,610.73, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 1.31 points, or 0.05 percent, at 2,859.76 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 8.71 points, or 0.11 percent, at 7,892.37.
Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower.
Tesla (TSLA.O) was down 1.1 percent. Shares of the electric car maker had closed up 11 percent on Tuesday after Chief Executive Elon Musk said he was considering taking the company private. Walt Disney (DIS.N) fell 1.9 percent and was the biggest decliner on the bluechip Dow after its quarterly profit missed estimates.
Mylan fell 2.8 percent after the drugmaker said it was evaluating a wide range of options and reported a quarterly profit that missed estimates.
CVS Health (CVS.N) rose 3.9 percent after it beat analysts’ estimates for adjusted quarterly profit as it sold more prescription drugs at its stores.
With the second-quarter earnings season winding down, 79 percent of S&P 500 companies have topped estimates. If the beat rate holds, it will be the highest on record, dating back to the first quarter of 1994, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.38-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.21-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 19 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 58 new highs and 54 new lows.