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Stocks post slight losses on quiet trading day

The American flag flies above the Wall Street

The American flag flies above the Wall Street entrance to the New York Stock Exchange on Nov. 13, 2015. Credit: AP / Richard Drew

A day of quiet trading on Wall Street ended Thursday with major U.S. stock indexes posting slight losses for the second day in a row.

Banks and energy companies led the slide, while high-dividend stocks like utilities, real estate investment trusts and phone companies rose as bond yields fell. The price of U.S. crude oil closed lower.

Small-company stocks fared better than the rest of the market, nudging the Russell 2000 slightly higher.

Trading was light ahead of the New Year’s Day holiday.

“The market is just taking a breather here,” said Jeff Zipper, managing director of investments for The Private Client Reserve of U.S. Bank. “We moved so much in the month of November, there may be some profit-taking, maybe positioning for the first quarter.”

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 13.90 points, or 0.1 percent, to 19,819.78. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slipped 0.66 points, or 0.03 percent, to 2,249.26 The Nasdaq composite lost 6.47 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,432.09.

The Russell 2000, which tracks small companies, added 2.35, or 0.2 percent, at 1,363.18.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.47 percent from 2.51 percent late Wednesday.

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