Dow industrials gave back gains in the final hour of trading to finish flat on Wednesday, ending a record-setting month on a soft note.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended flat at 19,123.58, reversing an earlier gain of 100 points.
Twenty of the Dow’s 30 components recorded declines. Credit card Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) was the biggest laggard, falling 2.1%. Telecom blue-chip Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and beverage maker Coca-Cola Co (NYSE: KO) each fell 1.8% apiece.
Chipmaker Intel Corp (NASDAQ: INTC) and drugmaker Merch & Co (NYSE: MRK) rounded out the bottom five with losses of 1.5% and 1.4%, respectively.
On the positive side of the ledger, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) rallied 3.9%. Energy giants Chevron Corp (NYSE: CVC) and Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE: XOM) rose at least 1.6% after OPEC’s production agreement triggered a nearly 9% rally in oil prices.
Shares of DuPont (NYSE: DD) rose 3.4%. Mining and construction equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) also rose 1.6%.
The S&P 500 finished 0.3% at 2,198.81, as a large drop in utilities, telecom and consumer stocks outweighed a nearly 5% surge in energy. The Nasdaq Composite Index also fell 1.1% to settle at 5,323.68.
After limping into November, Dow industrials finished the month with gains of more than 5%, propelled by a post-election rally that sent equities to record highs. Donald Trump’s surprise election win November 8 triggered an initial selloff in the futures market, but the market quickly recovered on optimism that the president-elect’s proposed policies would spur growth.
A batch of stronger than expected economic data lifted the US dollar to nearly 14-year highs on Wednesday, as investors continued to expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates next month. The US dollar rose more than half a percent against a basket of other major currencies, and looks poised to continue higher in the lead up to the December 13-14 Federal Open Market Committee meeting.
Investors are now turning their attention to Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report, which is expected to show another month of solid job creation.
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