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Stock drift around record highs in another listless day

Trader Richard Scardino, left, works on the floor

Trader Richard Scardino, left, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, May 3, 2017.  Photo Credit: AP / Richard Drew

The Nasdaq composite index ticked higher to another record Tuesday, but a drop by energy stocks held other indexes back.

It was the third straight day that the Nasdaq notched an all-time high.

The Nasdaq rose 17.93 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,120.59. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index bobbed around its own record through the day, before losing momentum in the last half-hour. It slipped 2.46 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,396.92.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 36.50 points, or 0.2 percent, to 20,975.78.

Markets have been placid the last two weeks, and the biggest one-day move for the S&P 500 during that span has been 0.6 percent, as investors keep crossing off reasons to fear. Last week’s solid jobs report gave reassurance that the U.S. economy is improving despite a weak showing at the start of the year.

The recent presidential election in France raised confidence that voters may be turning their back on a nationalistic brand of politics that could hurt global trade.

“This is almost like the post-celebration letdown,” said Brian Jacobsen, chief portfolio strategist at Wells Fargo Funds Management. “Everyone is just relaxing, trying to figure out what direction to go next.”

Energy stocks followed the price of oil lower. Benchmark U.S. crude fell 55 cents to settle at $45.88 per barrel.

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