Stocks end mixed on quiet day; energy stocks fall
Investors had little company-specific news to digest, although the United States and other world powers reached a deal to limit Iran's nuclear program, an event that pushed down oil prices and energy stocks.
The slow day represented a pause in the market's strong run-up, capped by another milestone Friday, when the Standard & Poor's 500 index closed above 1,800 for the first time.
Stocks have soared this year as a combination of solid corporate earnings, a strengthening economy, and easy-money policies from the Federal Reserve have drawn investors. Stocks have also gained because they offer an attractive alternative to bonds, where interest rates remain close to all-time lows.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 7.77 points, or 0.05 percent, to 16,072.54. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2.28 points, or 0.13 percent, to 1,802.48.
The biggest drags on the S&P 500 were energy stocks. Sunday's deal with Iran appeared to be the first significant progress in years to curtail that country's nuclear ambitions. It could reduce the risk of conflict, improve trade, and boost global oil supplies by making it easier for Iran to sell its crude on the global market. That could increase global supply and push oil prices lower in the long term.
Oil fell 75 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $94.09. Energy companies Halliburton, Transocean and Schlumberger all fell 2 percent or more.
While the Nasdaq is flirting with territory it has not seen in 13 years, the index is still down roughly 25 percent from its all-time high of 5,048.62 on March 10, 2000. The index, although still technology-heavy, is dominated by highly profitable companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon.
Trading was light Monday and is expected to remain limited all week. Stock and bond markets are closed Thursday in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday. On Friday, the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq will close early. Approximately 2.98 billion shares traded hands Monday on the New York Stock Exchange, below the 3.35 billion that is typically traded on an average day.
Investors will focus on Black Friday, when the holiday shopping season officially starts. Due to the lateness of Thanksgiving, the Christmas shopping season is a week shorter than usual, and that could affect the amount of shopping people do.