Even on a day when the major U.S. stock indexes barely budged, the market notched another milestone. The Nasdaq composite eked out a gain, pushing the tech-heavy index to its second record-high close in a row.
The Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 index drifted in the opposite direction, closing slightly in the red.
ON WALL STREET: At the close, the Dow Jones industrial average was down nearly 12 points, about 0.06 percent, at 18,526.1. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was off less than a point at 2,186.2. The Nasdaq composite slipped 8 points, about 0.2 percent, to nearly 5,284.
OIL PRICES: As markets closed, the price of U.S. benchmark crude oil was up $1.34 at $46.80 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, the price of Brent crude, used to price international oils, was up $1.23 at $48.49 a barrel.
ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY: A run of weak U.S. data has weighed on market sentiment in recent sessions. The soft data has reduced expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates again soon — a potential boon for stocks. However, worries over the U.S. economy have ratcheted up fears about the outlook and the earning power of companies — and that’s bad for stocks. On Wednesday, investors got a dash of encouraging news: The Labor Department said job openings jumped 4 percent in July. Another government report last Friday showed that employers pulled back on hiring in August.