US stocks ended November on a soft note, as sharp declines in most sectors offset a resurgence in energy following news of an OPEC production agreement.
The S&P 500 Index ended down 0.3% at 2,198.81. Futures on the large-cap index were down 4.50 points by the end of New York trading.
For the month of November, the S&P 500 rose more than 3%.
The benchmark index was up as much as 0.5% earlier in the day, dragged higher by booming energy shares following news that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) had agreed to curb oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day. The agreement sent oil prices nearly 9% higher and contributed to a 4.8% advance in energy stocks.
Financial stocks also reported firm gains, rising 1.3% as a sector. Meanwhile, materials rose 1.1%.
However, most of the S&P 500’s main sectors finished sharply lower. Utilities were down 3.2%, while shares of telecommunications services fell 2.1%. Consumer staples declined 1.7%, while information technology finished 1.2% lower. Real estate, health care and consumer discretionary also rounded out the decliners.
The CBOE VIX, a measure of implied volatility, rose 1.7% to 13.12 on Wednesday. The so-called “fear index” has risen in two of the past three days.
Broad-based declines in information technology and biotechnology sent the Nasdaq Composite Index 1% lower to 5,327.86 on Wednesday. The the Dow Jones Industrial Average pared gains to finish flat at 19,123.38.
Payrolls processor ADP Inc. reported Wednesday that US private sector employers added 216,000 payrolls in November, much higher than forecast. The increase boosted optimism that the official nonfarm payrolls report on Friday will reflect another solid month of job creation.
Nonfarm payrolls are expected to rise by 170,000 in November, according to a median estimate of economists. The unemployment rate is forecast to hold steady at 4.9%, consistent with broad measures of near full-employment.
In a separate report on Wednesday the Commerce Department said personal income rose 0.6% in October, the highest since April. A gauge of personal spending also rose steadily, pointing to a strengthening economy at the start of the fourth quarter. Consumer spending accounts for roughly two-third of US economic output.