U.S. Stocks Little Changed as Higher Oil Prices Buoy Energy Shares

By Christopher Whittall and Aaron Kuriloff Features Dow Jones Newswires

Declines in shares of Walt Disney and Boeing dragged the Dow Jones Industrial Average lower Wednesday.

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The blue-chip index lost 39 points, or 0.2%, to 20937. The S&P 500 edged up less than 0.1% and the Nasdaq Composite added less than 0.1%.

Major stock indexes have gained in recent weeks as corporate earnings have exceeded analysts' expectations. U.S. companies have largely beat estimates, with most S&P 500 companies now having reported results, according to FactSet.

With the earnings season now drawing to a close, some investors said the Trump administration needs to deliver on proposed tax cuts for equity markets to climb further.

"We have had a very good reporting season, but...we really need the tax cuts" for equity markets to push higher, said Monica Defend, head of global asset allocation research at Pioneer Investments.

Walt Disney fell 2.4% after the company late Tuesday reported a smaller-than-expected increase in revenue for its fiscal second quarter, weighing on the Dow industrials.

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Boeing shares lost 1.2% after the aircraft maker said it had halted flight tests of its new 737 Max jetliner, citing engine issues. Boeing still expects the first delivery of the planes this month.

Energy shares in the S&P 500 rose 1.1% as oil prices surged. U.S. crude oil rose 3.2% to $47.33 a barrel in its biggest one-day gain since December after data showed U.S. crude stockpiles fell more than analysts expected last week.

Chevron climbed 1.5%, the biggest percentage gain in the Dow industrials.

Moves were muted after the unexpected firing of James Comey, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, though some investors expressed concern that Mr. Comey's departure could stoke tensions between the White House and Congress.

U.S. government bonds prices edged lower Wednesday, sending the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note to 2.414% from 2.405% Tuesday. The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the U.S. currency against a basket of 16 others, fell less than 0.1%.

The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.2% to its highest level since August 2015.

Many investors see good reasons to be upbeat on European stocks. The European corporate earnings season is on track for its strongest quarter in a decade, according to a recent report from Morgan Stanley. Meanwhile, the victory of centrist Emmanuel Macron in French presidential elections has allowed investors to look past political risks and refocus on economic fundamentals.

South Korea's Kospi index fell 1% following the conclusion of presidential elections in that country. Moon Jae-in's victory in those elections on Tuesday has prompted investor caution given his support for closer ties with North Korea.

The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.9% after a small gain on Tuesday snapped a five-day losing streak. Some analysts expect a high-profile regulatory crackdown to weigh on Chinese shares.

Japan's Nikkei Stock Average rose 0.3%, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 reversed early losses to close 0.6% higher.

Write to Christopher Whittall at christopher.whittall@wsj.com and Aaron Kuriloff at aaron.kuriloff@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 10, 2017 16:15 ET (20:15 GMT)