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Oil drags most stocks lower; tech companies rise

Traders work on the floor of the New

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street on Jan. 5, 2017. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Spencer Platt

A slide in oil and natural gas companies led U.S. stock indexes mostly lower Monday, even as the Nasdaq composite index eked out a record.

Energy sector stocks declined the most, weighed down by lower prices for crude oil and other energy futures. Utilities and phone company stocks also fell sharply.

But gains among health care and technology stocks helped lift the Nasdaq, extending its winning streak into a fifth day.

Absent major new economic data, investors mostly focused on company earnings and several corporate deals, including UnitedHealth’s $2.3 billion cash-and-stock buyout of Surgical Care Affiliates.

All told, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 76.42 points, or 0.4 percent, to 19,887.38. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slid 8.08 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,268.90. The Nasdaq rose 10.76 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,531.82.

The market’s postelection rally sputtered the last week of December. So far this year, the major stock indexes have mostly inched higher. That could change toward the end of the week, when the next big wave of company earnings news starts rolling in.

“It really gets down to earnings now,” said Jim Davis, regional investment strategist at the Private Client Group at U.S. Bank.

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