NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock markets edged into neutral territory by Wednesday afternoon, mitigating slight losses sustained over the morning session.
"The equity markets are currently running on 'fumes,'" Raymond James' Jeffrey Saut wrote in a note. "This is based on a number of proprietary indicators including our measurements of the stock market's current 'internal energy,' which ... is totally used up."
The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average hugged the flatline, while the Nasdaq climbed 0.26%. If markets can end in the green, they will extend the Dow and S&P's streak of record closing highs into a sixth session.
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"The market is in pause mode as it digests recent gains and awaits some greater clarity on likely consumer spending as we ramp up to the holiday season," said Terry Sandven, senior equity strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management, in a phone call. "Toward year-end, we continue to believe that this is a 'buy the dips, grind higher' market."
Oil prices were falling on fears global supply is outpacing demand, even after OPEC reported its largest monthly decrease in production since March. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 1.1% to $77.11 a barrel.
Citibank (C) , JPMorgan Chase (JPM) , Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and HSBC (HSBC) declined after agreeing to a $4.3 billion settlement. UBS (UBS) shares made minor gains. Barclays (BCS) shares were down 2.5% after delaying its settlement with regulators. The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency penalized Bank of America (BAC) , according to Reuters.
Walmart (WMT) shares were up 0.25% after announcing it had extended Black Friday promotions for a week through to early December.
Dow Chemical (DOW) climbed 0.89%. The company declared a 14% increase in its quarterly dividend to 42 cents a share and added $5 billion to its buyback program.
Macy's (M) was rising 4.4% after third-quarter earnings beat forecasts but the retailer trimmed its fiscal 2014 outlook.
Teen retailer American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) rallied nearly 9% after upping its third-quarter profit guidance to 22 cents a share from a previous range of 17 cents to 19 cents a share.
Plug Power (PLUG) tanked 16.5% after posting a wider-than-expected loss. Investors overlooked a revenue increase of nearly 330% year over year to $19.9 million as the company shipped five times the number of alternative fuel cells.
Fossil Group (FOSL) popped 8.4% after the watchmaker posted a double-digit jump in sales and earnings beat by 14 cents a share.
SeaWorld (SEAS) shares dropped 9.3% after the company missed third-quarter earnings estimates and reported revenue down 8% year over year. The theme park operator has seen flagging attendance over the last few quarters as its animal treatment practices came under scrutiny.
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--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.