The major market averages were mixed at Wednesday's close as a resurgence in tech stocks underpinned the Nasdaq while losses in banking and energy shares drove the Dow and S&P 500 to a loss.
The rotation between high-tax and low-tax stocks was attributed to ongoing Congressional debate surrounding the alternative minimum tax ( AMT ). Similarly, the threat of the government running out of funding on Friday also contributed to the cautious tone across Wall Street.
Wall Street began the day on the defensive after another selling frenzy in the technology sector overnight permeated insulated sectors like financials and industrials. Exacerbated by year-end profit-taking and fears of a government shutdown, the Nasdaq futures were down as much as 1.5% in premarket before making a comeback just after the NYSE open.
The latest data on the labor market added to early losses but stocks bottomed out after third quarter non-farm productivity and labor costs data.
Oil futures were sharply lower as an unexpected increase in US inventories chased brent crude oil futures to its lowest level in more than a month. West Texas intermediate crude oil futures lost nearly 3% in value, trading under $56 per barrel.
Related markets reflected the dominant risk-off trade as gold was higher and Treasury yields were lower across all maturities.
Looking ahead to Thursday, economic data includes weekly unemployment claims and consumer credit, with Fed speak from NY Federal Reserve president William Dudley.
Here's where the markets stood at the close:
Dow Jones Industrial Index was down 39.73 (-0.16%)
S&P 500 was down 0.30 points (-0.01%)
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 14.16 points (+0.21%)
FTSE 100 was up 0.28%
Nikkei 225 was down 1.97%
Hang Seng Index was down 2.14%
Shanghai China Composite Index was down 0.29%
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