Traders Fred Demarco, left, and Tommy Kalikas work on the...

Traders Fred Demarco, left, and Tommy Kalikas work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, March 27, 2017. Credit: AP

Stock indexes closed mostly higher Wednesday after a sharp increase in crude oil prices helped drive market-leading gains for energy companies.

Banks and other financial stocks declined the most as bond yields headed lower, which translates into lower interest rates on loans and lower profits for banks.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended in the red, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index and Nasdaq composite eked out modest gains. Two stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange.

“After yesterday’s bounce back, you’re seeing a little sideways action today,” said Jeff Zipper, managing director at the Private Client Reserve of U.S. Bank.

The S&P 500 index added 2.56 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,361.13. The Dow fell 42.18 points, or 0.2 percent, to 20,659.32. The Nasdaq composite index gained 22.41 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,897.55.

Bond prices rose. The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 2.39 percent from 2.42 percent.

Melville-based Verint Systems jumped 10 percent, to $43.50, after the software company reported better-than-expected quarterly results. Verint also said during a conference call with analysts that it is possible that at some point it will split itself into two businesses, but noted it has no plans now to do that.

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