Stocks are narrowly mixed by mid-afternoon Thursday as crude oil failed to recapture a level above $50 a barrel before its close.
The S&P 500 was up 0.07%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.04%, and the Nasdaq gained 0.25%. Markets have wavered between slight losses and gains for much of the session.
Crude gave back earlier gains achieved on Thursday as a rally a day earlier faded. Oil boosted stocks on Wednesday on signs cuts in production were reducing overall supply in the U.S. Crude oil closed at its highest settlement since Oct. 9, 2015, on Wednesday after a weekly read on U.S. inventories showed a larger-than-expected decline.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell 0.1% to $49.52. Crude had topped the $50-mark for the first time since November earlier in the session.
Incoming economic data could make another rate hike appropriate "fairly soon," Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell said in a comments at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Powell noted that continued job growth and increases in wages would be needed to justify another hike.
"Depending on the incoming data and the evolving risks, another rate increase may be appropriate fairly soon," Powell said.
Wall Street has come to terms over the past week with the higher probability of a June rate hike. A rate hike next months currently holds a 26% probability, according to CME Group's Fed funds futures.
Pending home sales in the U.S. surged to a 10-year high in April, the latest sign of a robust housing sector. The number of home contract signings rose 5.1% last month to a reading of 116.3, according to the National Association of Realtors, its third straight month of growth.
"April's pending home sales and new home sales, which both represent signed contracts, likely benefited from this year's early Easter," Wells Fargo analysts wrote in a note. "With Easter occurring in March, April effectively had one more weekend of sales, and this extra activity looks even better after seasonal adjustment. Even with this boost, however, the rise in home sales reflects real economic gains and underscores the improving housing outlook."
Orders for long-lasting, or durable, goods in the U.S. rose at a faster-than-expected pace in April as demand for new cars, trucks and commercial jets boosted the metric. Durable goods orders rose 3.4% in April, well above estimates of 0.9% growth. Core durable orders, excluding transportation, rose 0.4%.
The number of new claims for unemployment benefits fell by 10,000 to 268,000 in the previous week, the Labor Department reported on Thursday. The less-volatile, four-week average showed initial jobless claims rise by 2,750 to 278,500.
US Foods (USFD) - Get Report jumped more than 7% in its trading debut, topping its initial public offering price of $23 a share. The food services company sold 44.4 million shares in the second-largest initial public offering of the year.
Costco (COST) - Get Report rose 4% after a mixed third quarter in which a stronger U.S. dollar and lower gas prices ate into the top-line. The second-largest retailer in the U.S. by sales said revenue climbed 2.6% to $26.77 billion, below estimates of $27.07 billion. The bulk retailer said comparable sales rose 3% when excluding currency exchange and fuel prices.
HP Inc. (HPQ) - Get Report climbed 7% despite missing sales estimates in its second quarter and guiding for third-quarter earnings below consensus. The computer hardware company reported an 11% decline in quarterly revenue to $11.59 billion, short forecasts by $130 million. Third-quarter profit guidance between 37 cents and 40 cents a share missed consensus of 41 cents.
Sears (SHLD) rose 6% after reporting a narrower-than-expected net loss and sales declined at a slower pace than forecast. Comparable-store sales declined 6.1%, dragged on by a 5% drop at Kmart. Overall revenue fell 8.3% to $5.39 billion, though beat expectations by $130 million.
LionsGate (LGF) reported a 41% decline in net income over its recent quarter as profit was dragged down by box-office bomb Gods of Egypt. The film studio generated net income of $11.4 million for the quarter ended in March, down from $19.5 million in the year-ago quarter. Record TV revenue helped to boost total revenue by 22% to $791.2 million.
Dollar Tree (DLTR) - Get Report climbed 13% as growth in customer transactions boosted first-quarter same-store sales by 2.3%. The discount retailer expects second-quarter same-store sales growth in the low single-digits.