U.S. Stocks Mixed, Weighed Down by Energy Shares

By Akane Otani and Riva Gold Features Dow Jones Newswires

S&P 500 edges lower

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-- Oil prices, energy shares drop ahead of OPEC meeting

-- Retail shares rise after weekend sales

The S&P 500 paused just shy of a record Monday, weighed down by a pullback in shares of energy companies.

Major indexes struggled for traction, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite both hitting their peaks for the trading day early on before losing ground.

Shares of retailers jumped following the weekend's holiday sales, while oil-and-gas companies fell along with U.S. crude prices.

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Some analysts said it wasn't surprising to see the momentum in U.S. stocks falter a bit heading into year-end. The year's rally has lifted the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq to dozens of records each in 2017.

"I see the risk-reward [ratio] being much more attractive in international markets," said Crit Thomas, global market strategist at Touchstone Investments, who added that U.S. stocks look expensive relative to their foreign counterparts.

The S&P 500 declined 1 point, or less than 0.1%, to 2601.42. The Nasdaq lost 10.64 points, or 0.2%, to 6878.52 and the Dow industrials rose 22.79 points, or 0.1%, to 23580.78.

Energy shares dragged on major indexes, with shares of Marathon Oil falling 65 cents, or 4.3%, to $14.48 and Newfield Exploration losing $1.05, or 3.4%, to $29.69.

U.S. crude for January delivery shed 1.4% to $58.11 a barrel ahead of a meeting of major crude producers. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and as producers including Russia are expected Thursday to discuss whether to extend output cuts that some analysts say have helped oil prices recover this year.

Meanwhile, shares of several retailers jumped following a weekend of major sales at many department stores and brick-and-mortar outlets.

Signet Jewelers added $2.45, or 4.9%, to $52.25, while L Brands, the parent of Victoria's Secret, rose $1.98, or 4.1%, to $50.34 and Gap added 36 cents, or 1.2%, to $30.00.

"It would seem like we are off to a good start [to the holiday shopping season]," said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade.

Better-than-expected earnings reports and hopes for a solid final quarter have drawn some investors back into beaten-down retail shares in recent sessions, analysts said.

Elsewhere, the Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.5%, with shares of Julius Baer Group declining after the Swiss private-banking company's chief executive resigned.

Stock indexes in Asia came under pressure as technology stocks slid.

Morgan Stanley downgraded stock ratings for Samsung Electronics and Taiwan Semiconductor. South Korea's Kospi Composite Index, which heavily weights the two firms, fell 1.4% in its biggest one-day decline since August.

Much of the recent selloff in Asian shares has come from companies that have already posted strong gains this year, said Andrea Cicione, head of strategy at TS Lombard.

"But we haven't seen anything for the moment that worries us," Mr. Cicione said, noting fundamentally, the outlook for the economy and global equities remains sound and investors generally feel they can't afford to miss out on this market.

Kenan Machado contributed to this article.

Write to Akane Otani at akane.otani@wsj.com and Riva Gold at riva.gold@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 27, 2017 17:17 ET (22:17 GMT)