Stocks edge lower, oil prices rise despite release of crude

Stocks edged lower in choppy trading on Wall Street Tuesday as gains from banks and energy companies tempered losses from communications and technology companies.

The S&P 500 fell 0.4% as of 1:10 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 9 points, or less than 0.1%, to 35,628 and the Nasdaq fell 1.3%.

Bond yields edged higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.65% from 1.63% late Monday. That helped send banks higher. Bank of America rose 2.1%.

Prices for U.S. crude oil rose 2.6% and wholesale gasoline rose 2.7% despite the fact that President Joe Biden ordered 50 million barrels of oil released from the nation’s strategic reserve to help bring down energy costs. The move was made in concert with other big oil-consuming nations.

Oil and gas companies made solid gains as energy prices rose. Devon Energy rose 5.2%.

Retailers were mixed ahead of the official start of the key holiday shopping season. Discount retailer Dollar Tree rose 7.6%. Starbucks rose 1.2%. Best Buy slumped 12.8% as concerns about tighter margins outweighed solid earnings.

Several travel-related companies gained ground ahead as people prepare to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday. Hilton rose 1.1% and Booking Holdings rose 1.2%.

Technology and communications companies lagged the broader market.

Investors are facing a holiday-shortened week. Markets are closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving and will close early on Friday.

Wall Street will get a few pieces of economic data on Wednesday that could give investors a better sense of the economic recovery’s pace and breadth. The Labor Department will release its weekly report on unemployment benefits. The Commerce Department releases data on third-quarter gross domestic product and its new home sales report for October.

Also on Wednesday, the Federal Reserve will release minutes from its October interest-rate meeting, potentially giving investors more details on the central bank’s plan to start trimming bond purchases that have helped keep interest rates low.

Investors have been watching to see if pressure from rising inflation will goad the Fed into speeding up its plans for trimming bond purchases and raising its benchmark interest rate.