Stocks ended the day with losses Wednesday, led by drops in mining and materials companies that were giving back a modest increase from the day before. The declines were light but broad as the market continues a late-summer pattern of drifting between small gains and losses.
ON WALL STREET: At the close, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 65.8 points, about 0.4 percent, to 18,481.5. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was off 11.5 points, about 0.5 percent, at 2,175.4, and the Nasdaq composite gave up 42.4 points, about 0.8 percent, to 5,217.7.
OIL PRICES: About the same time, the price of U.S. Benchmark crude oil fell $1.34 to $46.76 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude, which is used to price oil internationally, fell 95 cents to $49.01 a barrel.
MINING TROUBLES: Metals and mining stocks took hefty losses after disappointing results from the European mining giant Glencore. The company reported a loss and continues to sell off billions in assets to pay down its massive debt load.
QUIET: Stocks remain in slow, narrow trading as they have all week and the last two weeks. Many traders are on vacation and with the lack of economic data and company news being released, investors are hesitant to move any large positions one way or another.
FED WATCH: Investors are awaiting a speech Friday by Fed Chair Janet Yellen at an annual conference of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Fed is expected to hold off on raising interest rates at its September meeting, but Yellen’s comments will be dissected for clues on the likelihood and timing of a future hike.