Wall Street ended a wobbly session Wednesday with mixed results as concerns about the financial sector eroded enthusiasm over a decline...
NEW YORK — Wall Street ended a wobbly session Wednesday with mixed results as concerns about the financial sector eroded enthusiasm over a decline in oil prices and a report that signaled modest growth in the service economy.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 12.37 to 12,390.48.
Microsoft, one of the 30 Dow stocks, gained 23 cents to close at $27.54 a share. Boeing, also a Dow stock, slipped 10 cents to $78.02.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 0.45 to 1,377.20, while the Nasdaq rose 22.66 to 2,503.14.
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The decline in oil at times appeared to help lift market sentiment. Light, sweet crude fell $1.45 to $122.86 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after the Energy Department reported that demand for gasoline receded last week and that fuel inventories jumped more than expected. Still, retail gas prices advanced to a fresh record above $3.98 a gallon.
But the renewed concerns about the health of the financial sector kept some buyers at bay.
“Financials again are the lead story. The market is not going to recover until the financials do. They’re not going to until all of these balance sheet items are taken care of,” said Neil Massa, senior trader at MFC Global Investment Management in Boston;
Hugh Whelan, managing director at Hartford Investment Management, said Wall Street will likely remain moored to its current levels until there is a sustained pullback in oil and until a more robust corporate profit picture emerges.
“I think broadly speaking we’ll probably trade at a range over the next few months,” he said. “From a valuation perspective the market is right where it should be given current profit levels.”