Wall Street's fixation with oil prices left stocks little changed Wednesday, although investors managed to react stoically to the government's report of a drop in crude inventories.
Oil futures traded above $59 a barrel after the U.S. Department of Energy released data showing inventories of crude fell 1.58 million barrels for the week. The drop, while lower than expected, initially rattled traders and sent stocks sliding; however, they soon recovered most of their lost ground.
Worries linger on Wall Street that high oil prices could accelerate inflation, as businesses raise their own prices to absorb rising costs. United Airlines, a unit of UAL, said Wednesday it was raising fares on most domestic and international flights by 3 percent, effective immediately, because of rising oil prices.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 11.74, or 0.1 percent, to 10,587.93. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index rose 0.27, or 0.02 percent, to 1213.88, and the Nasdaq composite index gained 0.96, or 0.05 percent, to 2092.03.
Investors expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates for the ninth time since last year at its Open Market Committee meeting June 29-30, but are waiting for signs of the Fed's longer-term plans for rates.
Ameritrade Holding rose $3.05, to $17.87, after announcing it was rejecting a takeover offer from E-Trade Financial and would instead acquire rival online brokerage TD Waterhouse from Toronto-Dominion Bank. Toronto-Dominion rose 54 cents, to $44.15.
Gannett fell 12 cents, to $74.10, after the nation's largest newspaper company said growth in second-quarter earnings will likely be lower than expected.
Morgan Stanley dropped 45 cents, to $50.52. Earnings fell 24 percent in the second quarter. The investment bank blamed the drop on difficult market conditions and legal expenses from high-profile lawsuits against the firm.
Jabil Circuit climbed $2.98, or 10.5 percent, to $31.42, for the best performance in the S&P 500. The electronics manufacturer reported fiscal third-quarter sales of $1.94 billion, exceeding the average analyst estimate in a Thomson Financial survey.
New York Stock Exchange composite index rose 5.84, to 7320.09.
American Stock Exchange index rose 5.35, to 1548.03.
Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 2.41, to 643.45.
NYSE: 1.35 billion shares, up from 1.3 billion on Tuesday. Advancers outnumbered decliners 7 to 5.
Nasdaq: 1.68 billion shares, up from 1.58 billion. Advancers outnumbered decliners 9 to 8.
Crude oil for August delivery: $58.09, down 95 cents.
Gold for current delivery: $438.10 a troy ounce, down from $438.90 on Tuesday.