The Dow Jones industrial average added 13.85 points, or 0.13%, to 10,697.59. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 0.92 points, or 0.07%, to 1,245.04. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite lost 1.34 points, or 0.06%, to 2,216.81.
Looking ahead to Thursday, a report on weekly initial jobless claims will be released. Among the companies reporting earnings are media group Viacom (VIA
) and razor maker Gillette (G
Crude oil prices ended the day down more than $1.00 to $60.86 a barrel after reaching a New York Mercantile Exchange high point of $62.50 a barrel earlier in the day. The drop came after the Department of Energy's weekly inventory report showed crude stocks rose by 200,000 barrel, when analysts expected a 1.6 million barrel draw. Action Economics noted, however, that the draw of 4.0 million barrels in gasoline supplies was more than the 900,000 draw expected, and could support prices in coming sessions.
The Institute for Supply Management's July survey on business activity fell to 60.5, below Action Economics' median forecast of 61.3, and down from the 62.2 reading in June.
In corporate news, German sporting-goods maker Adidas-Salomon announced it will acquire U.S. rival Reebok (RBK
) for $3.8 billion, as part of its strategy to challenge market leader Nike (NKE
Time Warner (TWX
) swung to a second quarter loss of $321 million, or seven cents a share, thanks to a $2.4 billion settlement with shareholders who had sued the company over its AOL accounting. Excluding the $3 billion it set aside for that and other lawsuits, the media group posted a profit of 18 cents a share, missing Wall Street expectations by a penny.
Insurance group Cigna (CI
) reported better-than-expected second-quarter results. The company's net income grew to $720 million, up from $504 million in the period last year.
Pharmacy chain CVS (CVS
) also beat analysts' expectations by posting an 18% rise in quarterly profit to $275.9 million.
Treasury prices were higher Wednesday, as the market digested the announcement that the 30-year bond will be revived. The yield on the benchmark 10-year note ended the day at 4.29%.
European stock markets closed mixed Wednesday. London's FTSE 100 index rose 4.80 points, or 0.09%, to 5,332.30. HSBC and Barclays Bank were both lower following peer Credit Suisse's lower than expected quarterly results.
Germany's DAX index fell 9.75 points, or 0.20%, to 4,923.12. Adidas-Salomonn was higher on the Reebok acquisition.
In Paris, the CAC 40 index lost 9.75 points, or 0.20%, to 4,923.12. Carmaker Peugeot was lower on earnings worries, while France Telecom fell on profit-taking after seven days of gains.
Asian markets finished mixed Wednesday. In Japan, the Nikkei index rose 41.60 points, or 0.35%, to close at a 15-month high of 11,981.80 on the back of positive sentiment toward corporate earnings. Astella Pharmaceutical led the index higher after reporting strong quarterly results.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index fell 18.58 points, or 0.12%, to 15,118.50 on profit-taking after big gains Tuesday.