The anxiety that rattled markets earlier this week dissipated Thursday as China's central bank calmed concerns that the country's currency would continue its slide. Major markets in Europe and Asia made gains, while the U.S. stock market finished with mixed results.
At the close on Wall Street, the Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 2.7 points, about 0.1 percent, at 2,083.4. The Dow Jones industrial average was up nearly 5.7 points, about 0.03 percent, at 17,408.3, and the Nasdaq composite lost 10.8 points, about 0.2 percent, to 5,033.6.
CRUDE ENERGY: At the close the price of benchmark U.S. crude was down $1.07 at $42.33 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, it's lowest close since March 3, 2009. Brent crude, an international benchmark, fell 44 cents to close at $49.22 in London.
REFINED ENERGY: In other futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange:
-- Wholesale gasoline fell 5 cents to close at $1.714 a gallon.
-- Heating oil fell 1.8 cents to close at $1.569 a gallon.
-- Natural gas fell 14.4 cents to close at $2.787 per 1,000 cubic feet.
CHINA EXPLAINS: Officials from China's central bank defended recent moves to loosen the government's grip on its currency, saying that the yuan will eventually rebound from its recent fall. There is "no basis for persistent and substantial devaluation," said a deputy central bank governor, Zhang Xiaohui. The yuan is close to "market levels" after two days of sharp drops, Zhang said.
Beijing's surprise devaluation of its currency shook markets around the world this week, upending stocks, commodities and currencies.