Stocks ended the day Wednesday as listlessly as they began -- slightly lower and mixed.
ON WALL STREET: At the close, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up 4 points, about 0.2 percent, at nearly 2,272. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 22.1 points, about 0.1 percent, at 19,804.7. The Nasdaq composite had edged up nearly 17 points, about 0.3 percent, to 5,555.7.
BOND PRICES: At the close, bond prices were down. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.389 percent.
OIL PRICES: As markets closed, benchmark U.S. crude oil fell $1.18 to $51.30 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London on the Intercontinental Exchange Europe, Brent crude, used to price international oils, slid $1.25 at $54.22 a barrel.
MAKING MOVES: Steel maker Nucor gained 3 percent Wednesday and Fastenal, which makes nuts, bolts and other equipment, jumped 5 percent after turning in a strong earnings report.
Retailers were broadly lower after Target reported weak holiday sales.
Energy companies were also falling along with the price of crude oil.
ANALYST’S VIEW: Initial investor optimism over Trump’s promises to bring in business-friendly policies has been waning as reality sets in, suggested analyst Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore. “The market has been anticipating better clarity into the economic plans of the new administration for months and weeks, expected to come as President-elect Donald Trump steps into office” on Friday, said Pan. “Last Wednesday’s press conference and the latest set of comments from Trump have probably been a preview for more volatility instead as the market stands ready to adjust expectations.”