Wall Street finished an uninspired session mixed on Monday as a new high in oil prices was partly offset by a better-than-expected reading of the nation's industrial activity and strong sales at Wal-Mart Stores.
The stock market remained resilient in the face of record intraday and closing prices for oil. A barrel of light crude reached an intraday high of $62.30 before closing at $61.57, up $1, on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The death of Saudi King Fahd was cited as creating uncertainty in the oil market.
The surge in oil prices was mitigated by upbeat July sales at Wal-Mart and a bullish reading of the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index -- showing that both the consumer and industrial sectors have adapted well to high energy costs. However, the strong growth in the economy raised concerns about the Federal Reserve and its policy of gradually raising the nation's benchmark rate.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 17.76, or 0.2 percent, to 10,623.15. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index rose 1.17, or 0.1 percent, to 1235.35, and the Nasdaq composite index gained 10.55, or 0.5 percent, to 2195.38.
Wal-Mart rose 18 cents, to $49.53, as the retailer reported a 4.4 percent increase in sales from stores open at least a year, another strong sign of consumer spending.
EBay climbed $1.83, to $43.61, after it received an upgrade from "neutral" to "buy" at Citigroup Smith Barney. Analysts there said the online auctioneer's earnings were solid and that future trends looked positive.
Exxon Mobil rose 48 cents, to $59.23, as oil stocks benefited from the increase in crude prices. Chevron rose 42 cents, to $58.43.
Procter & Gamble fell 31 cents, to $55.32, despite a 9 percent rise in profit that beat analysts' forecasts, because the company issued a lower outlook for the third quarter.
General Motors gained 4 cents, to $36.86. As its successful employee discount program expires, GM will cut prices on 30 of its new 2006 models. Ford Motor climbed 11 cents, to $10.85, as it extended its own discount program and cut prices.
New York Stock Exchange composite index rose 25.44, to 7502.10.
American Stock Exchange index rose 8.25, to 1612.88.
Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 3.05, to 682.80.
NYSE: 1.73 billion shares, down from 1.8 billion on Friday. Advancers outnumbered decliners 6 to 5.
Nasdaq: 1.48 billion shares, down from 1.59 billion. Advancers outnumbered decliners 5 to 4.
Crude oil for September delivery: $61.57, up $1.00.
Gold for current delivery: $431.90 a troy ounce, up from $429.90 on Friday.