Dow, S&P rise on oil price decline
NEW YORK » Stocks closed barely mixed on Wall Street yesterday as oil prices dropped sharply and interest rate worries limited the market's gains.
The major indexes were down for much of the day as investors fretted over high U.S. bond yields and possible rate increases in Europe and Japan. By afternoon, sectors including health care and energy had rebounded.
The Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 rose in response to a sharp drop in crude oil futures, which declined after a government report showed crude oil inventories at their highest level since 1999. A barrel of light crude settled at $60.02, down $1.56 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
"A decline in the price of crude bodes well" for curing inflation fears, said Brian Bush, director of equity research, Stephens Inc.
The Nasdaq composite index dipped slightly as Google Inc. continued a streak of erratic trading, falling sharply after the company mistakenly posted an internal financial outlook that included its concerns about narrowing profits.
The Dow rose 25.05, or 0.23 percent, to 11,005.74.
Broader stock indicators were barely mixed. The S&P 500 index rose 2.59, or 0.2 percent, to 1,278.47, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 0.92, or 0.04 percent, to 2,267.46.
Advancing issues barely edged out decliners on the New York Stock Exchange.
The market has been skittish since the beginning of March, with the S&P 500 declining for the previous four straight sessions as bond yields hit highs not seen since June 2004. But the declines created a buying opportunity, Bush said.
"After four days of decline, the market was near-term oversold," he said.
The critical release this week will be Friday's average hourly wage number, said Philip S. Dow, managing director of equity strategy at RBC Dain Rauscher in Minneapolis. "If that shows not much in the way of inflation, we could have a pretty good rally here."
The wage figures will be released as part of the Labor Department's monthly employment report; the data will also include the number of jobs created last month.
Bonds rose slightly, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note falling to 4.73 percent, down from 4.74 percent late Tuesday.
Google fell $10.57, or 2.9 percent, to $353.88 after it mistakenly posted an internal financial forecast on its Web site. The projections included a reference to management's concerns about the online search engine leader's profits narrowing amid tougher competition.