Dow at record but S&P flat as energy weighs

Thu Nov 13, 2014 4:59pm EST
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By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Dow industrials closed at a record high on Thursday, boosted by gains in Wal-Mart, but the S&P 500 was little changed as energy shares tracked crude futures prices lower.

The energy sector cut its losses late in the session after Dow Jones reported Halliburton is in talks to buy Baker Hughes. Halliburton ended up 1 percent after earlier falling as much as 4.6 percent, while Baker Hughes rallied to close up 15.3 percent at $58.75.

They were, however, the only two stocks to finish higher in the energy sector of the S&P 500, which closed down 1.3 percent. Energy shares fell as Brent crude slid below $78 a barrel while U.S. crude tumbled 3.6 percent to $74.39, both at their lowest in more than four years.

Wal-Mart closed up 4.7 percent at $82.94 after posting higher same-store sales for the first time in seven quarters. It earlier hit a high of $83.06.

"Wal-Mart is showing strength, showing the natural relation it should have with (lower) energy prices," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York.

Consumer-related companies are expected to see more demand as lower gasoline costs free up cash.

"But while we're waiting for (other) consumer stocks to rise, lower energy prices continue to be a headwind," Hogan said.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 40.59 points, or 0.23 percent, to 17,652.79, the S&P 500 gained 1.08 points, or 0.05 percent, to 2,039.33 and the Nasdaq Composite added 5.01 points, or 0.11 percent, to 4,680.14.   Continued...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange November 10, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid