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Energy leads stock indexes to a mostly higher finish

The New York Stock Exchange on Dec. 21,

The New York Stock Exchange on Dec. 21, 2016. Credit: AP

A listless day on Wall Street finished with stocks eking out small gains Friday, as strength in energy, phone and industrial companies offset losses elsewhere.

Some health insurers bounced back after Sen. John McCain said he wouldn’t support the latest Republican effort to roll back the Affordable Care Act.

Real estate and utilities companies were among the biggest decliners. A new round of tensions between the U.S. and North Korea helped send bond yields lower, which weighed on banks and other financial stocks. The sector notched daily gains earlier in the week.

“Geopolitical tensions coming out of North Korea caused a flight to quality,” said David Schiegoleit, managing director of investments at U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management. “Today equity markets are simply moving sideways and probably digesting that.”

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 1.62 points, or 0.06 percent, to 2,502.22. The Dow Jones industrial average shed 9.64 points, or 0.04 percent, to 22,349.59. The average was held back by a loss in Apple, which slid $1.50, or 1 percent, to $151.89.

The Nasdaq composite added 4.23 points, or 0.07 percent, to 6,426.92.

Small-company stocks did better than the rest of the market. The Russell 2000 gained 6.60 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,450.78, a fraction of a point above its previous record high.

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