Stocks closed an erratic session mixed Wednesday as General Motors hit an 18-year low, dragging down the Dow Jones industrial average. Rising oil prices also...
NEW YORK — Stocks closed an erratic session mixed Wednesday as General Motors hit an 18-year low, dragging down the Dow Jones industrial average. Rising oil prices also dulled investor enthusiasm.
The Dow fell 11.68 to 10,674.76.
Microsoft, one of the 30 Dow stocks, advanced 24 cents to close at $27.74 a share. Boeing, also a Dow stock, gained 44 cents to close at $67.44.
Broader stock indicators were barely higher. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 2.20 to 1,231.21, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 1.19 to 2,187.93.
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The price of crude overshadowed a government report of moderating inflation that initially gave stocks a modest lift. Oil futures settled at $57.88 a barrel, up 90 cents on the New York Mercantile Exchange, a sharp change from the four-month low they reached Tuesday.
Wednesday’s government petroleum inventory numbers were weaker then expected.
GM fell as concerns mounted about problems at its top supplier, Delphi Corp. and worries about the company’s ability to turn around its performance. Leaders of the United Auto Workers said the union and Delphi remain far apart on a new labor agreement and fears of a strike have spooked investors.
General Motors fell $1.32 to $21.29.
Broader economic news was more upbeat. The Labor Department reported that consumer prices edged up just 0.2 percent in October, the best showing in four months. In September, consumer prices had soared by 1.2 percent on record energy prices. That inflation increase was the largest one-month jump in 25 years.
Expiring options also spurred selling. “We did get surprising oil inventory data, but it’s still below that $60 range,” said Peter Cardillo, chief strategist, senior vice president and market analyst at S.W. Bach. “The market is running against options expirations, which are causing technical difficulty.”
Trading on Wall Street was light, and some analysts said last week’s strong advances came in anticipation of Wednesday’s cheery inflation numbers, leaving little to trade on during the day’s session.
“It’s really a trendless market,” said Rob Lutts, president and chief investment officer, Cabot Money Management, Salem, Mass.