Stocks Give Back Most Gains by US Close But Indexes Rally in Strong Monthly Moves

Stocks in the US gave back most of their gains by the close on Wednesday, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 reversing its advance and the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished little changed, backing off from the record high it touched earlier.

The Nasdaq spent most of the day lower as tech majors retreated. Facebook (FB) fell 2% and Intel (INTC) dropped 1.7%. On the Dow, Visa (V) slid 2.3% in the steepest decline while Goldman Sachs (GS) advanced 3.7%. Chevron (CVX) gained 2% and Exxon Mobil (XOM) added 1.6% as energy shares surged 5.2% after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries announced an agreement on cutting oil production.

OPEC said it will cut production by 1.2 million barrels a day to 52.5 million barrels, with effect from Jan. 1. Oil prices had fluctuated in recent days on speculation that an agreement wouldn’t be reached, but West Texas Intermediate was 8.6% stronger late in the day at $49.14 a barrel.

Even though the indexes ended mostly lower on Wednesday, they still posted strong gains in November, driven by the surprise win of Republican Donald Trump in the US election. The S&P 500 was up 3.4% in the month, the Dow rose 5.4% and the Nasdaq climbed 2.6%

Economic data added support to the belief that the Federal Reserve will raise rates at its December meeting. The probability of a hike stood at almost 99% on the CME Group’s FedWatch tool. The private sector added 216,000 new jobs in October, beating Wall Street estimates for a gain of 160,000. Consumer spending increased 0.3% while incomes rose 0.6%, and manufacturing in the Chicago Fed area accelerated to its highest level in over a year. Pending home sales was the only miss with a 0.1% gain in October versus estimates for a 0.2% rise.

By BDL Contributor