U.S. stocks wobbled between gains and losses then finished with a split decision Wednesday as technology companies dropped. That canceled out gains for energy companies.
Oil and gasoline prices continued to rise Wednesday after a big gain the day before, and U.S. crude reached its highest price in two months. Chipmakers fell, while Apple slipped after announcing new features for iPhones and Apple Watches.
The market staged a brief rally around midday following a report that the U.S. was seeking new trade talks with China. Stocks climbed, but they retreated to their earlier levels in less than an hour.
Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist for Invesco, said investors have learned from earlier trade updates that didn't amount to much.
"Every other time this has happened, it wasn't worth the positive market move," she said. "Investors ... are a lot more skeptical this time around, having been burned a few times with false optimism about positive trade developments."
The S&P 500 index edged up 1.03 points to 2,888.92. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 27.86 points, or 0.1 percent, to 25,998.92. The losses for technology companies weighed on the Nasdaq composite, which slid 0.2 percent, to 7,954.23. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 2.71 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,715.70. -- AP