Stocks were modestly lower by the final hour of trading Wednesday as the energy sector tumbled after crude oil closed below $47 a barrel.
The S&P 500 fell 0.45%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.32%, and the Nasdaq slipped 0.22%.
Crude oil prices fell after domestic inventories rose for the sixth straight week. Crude stocks climbed by 2.8 million barrels for the week ended Oct. 30, according to the Energy Information Administration. Analysts had expected stocks to rise by 2.5 million barrels. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 3.3% to close at $46.32 a barrel.
The energy sector was the worst performer on Wednesday. Among the major oil companies, Exxon Mobil(XOM) - Get Report , Chevron(CVX) - Get Report , Kinder Morgan(KMI) - Get Report and Schlumberger(SLB) - Get Report fell more than 1% each, while the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) - Get Report fell 1.4%.
The U.S. economy is performing well enough to warrant a move off of crises-level rates, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said in a statement before Congress.
The Fed is "expecting the economy will continue to grow at a pace to return inflation to our target over the medium term," Yellen said. "If the incoming information supports that expectation ... December would be a live possibility."
Yellen cautioned, however, that no decision has been made on whether to raise rates next month.
The U.S. added 182,000 jobs in October, according to the latest ADP jobs report. The read was as economists expected. The survey gives an indication as to what the Labor Department's jobs report, out Friday, holds.
The official jobs report is expected to show 205,000 jobs added to nonfarm payrolls in October, rebounding after two months of weakness. A strong reading could give the Fedenough justification to hike rates in December.
"We believe the Fed is still very much on the fence about whether to hike rates in December or to wait until early 2016," said Burt White, chief investment officer for LPL Financial. "The two jobs reports will go a long way toward determining whether the Fed hikes rates at its next meeting in December."
The services sector expanded at a faster-than-expected pace in October, according to the Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing index. The measure rose to 59.1, its highest level in three months and better than a forecast reading of 56.5.
The U.S. trade deficit narrowed 15% in September to $40.8 billion, its lowest level in seven months. The reading could push third-quarter GDP estimates slightly higher. Imports fell 1.8% as crude oil, aircraft and automobile imports declined. Exports rose 1.6% after dropping to a three-year low in August.
Tesla(TSLA) - Get Report spiked nearly 11% after guiding for vehicle deliveries of up to 19,000 in the fourth quarter as it ramps up production of its Model X. However, the automaker did suffer a wider third-quarter loss than expected, its 10th straight quarter without a profit. Telsa posted an adjusted loss of 58 cents a share, 8 cents wider than expected.
Wendy's(WEN) - Get Report climbed 4.5% as quarterly profit beat estimates on wider margins. Same-store sales rose 3.1% at North American restaurants over the quarter. The fast food chain expects full-year sales growth between 2% and 2.5%.
21st Century Fox(FOXA) - Get Report was 6.7% lower as sales at its film studio fell 28% to $1.79 billion on weak box office results for The Fantastic Four. CBS(CBS) - Get Report added 0.4% despite suffering a decline in revenue tied to television licensing and pay-per-view. Sales fell 3.3% to $3.26 billion.
However, fellow media company Time Warner (TWX) reported a better-than-expected quarter, earning $1.25 a share, 16 cents above forecasts. Revenue jumped 5% to $6.56 billion, driven by strong growth in its HBO segment. The company's Warner Bros. movies unit also performed better than forecasts.
Zynga(ZNGA) - Get Report jumped more than 3% after reporting a better-than-expected third quarter. The online games company reported profit of $3.05 million, swinging from a loss of $57.1 million a year earlier. Profit was driven by reduced expenses. The number of players of its games fell 21%, while monthly active users slid 27%.
Michael Kors (KORS) jumped 10% after sales jumped nearly 7% higher in its recent quarter. Net income of $1.01 a share came in 11 cents above estimates. The fashion designer also approved an additional share buyback program worth $500 million.
Groupon(GRPN) - Get Report shares plunged 27.3% after the deals site offered a weak outlook. The company said it expects between a penny's net loss to a penny's profit a share in the fourth quarter, below estimates of 7 cents a share in profit. Groupon also appointed Chief Operating Officer Rich Williams as its new chief executive. Current CEO Eric Lefkofsky will become chairman.
Etsy(ETSY) - Get Report slid 4% after missing sales estimates and reported higher marketing costs in its third quarter. Revenue jumped 38% to $65.7 million, though fell short of estimates by $470,000. Marketing costs spiked 88%. However, the online crafts marketplace did narrow its net loss to 6 cents a share from 15 cents a share a year earlier.