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US STOCKS-Crude price jump helps Wall Street offset tech losses
November 22, 2017 / 4:39 PM / a month ago

US STOCKS-Crude price jump helps Wall Street offset tech losses

* Tech stock drop after two days of gains

* Fed minutes from Oct meeting expected at 2:00 pm ET

* U.S. crude at over 2-year highs, boosting energy stocks

* HPE shares sink after Whitman says to leave CEO post

* Indexes: Dow and S&P off 0.07 pct, Nasdaq up 0.07 pct (Changes comment, updates prices, adds details)

By Sruthi Shankar

Nov 22 (Reuters) - Wall Street indexes treaded water, staying near record levels, in late morning trading on Wednesday as technology and energy stocks battled for influence and investors awaited the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting.

The S&P technology index fell 0.26 percent, after two days of gains, led by losses in Hewlett Packard Enterprise after Meg Whitman said she would leave as chief executive in February, six years into the job.

HP Enterprise fell more than 9 percent. HP Inc, which holds the computer and printer business that Whitman carved out of old Hewlett Packard, fell 8 percent after reporting an unimpressive profit.

The energy index rose 0.62 percent as U.S. crude prices jumped 1.7 percent, easing only slightly from more than two year highs after data showed U.S. crude stocks declined largely in line with expectations.

Trading volumes were thin ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday and an early close on Friday. The CBOE Volatility index, known as Wall Street’s fear gauge, was down for the fifth session in a row and at two-week lows.

At 10:58 a.m. ET (1558 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 17.09 points, or 0.07 percent, at 23,573.74, the S&P 500 was down 0.07 points, or 0.01 percent, at 2,598.96 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 4.93 points, or 0.07 percent, at 6,867.41.

The Fed minutes are due at 2:00 p.m. ET and will be scrutinized for the policymakers’ thinking on inflation for more clarity on what they might do under a new chair next year.

The minutes come a day after outgoing Chair Janet Yellen said she still expects inflation to rebound soon, added she was “very uncertain” if that would happen and was open to the possibility that prices could remain low for years.

“The market is going to look at the minutes with an eye towards confirming what Yellen said,” said Thomas Martin, senior portfolio manager at GlobAlt Investments in Atlanta, Georgia.

“If the body language on inflation is more uncertain then that would provide for a slower rate path, that’s good for the market.”

A final quarter-point rise under Yellen next month is almost fully baked in. The pace of hikes have also been slow enough not to scare stock investors who have thrived on a decade of cheap money. The S&P is up about 16 percent this year so far.

Among stocks, tractor maker Deere & Co rose nearly 5 percent to record high after reporting upbeat quarterly earnings and issuing a strong profit forecast for the year.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,583 to 1,107. On the Nasdaq, 1,646 issues rose and 1,075 fell. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)

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