NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks were slightly higher on Monday as crude oil prices overshadowed continued goodwill over the Federal Reserve's comments last week that it would be patient about raising interest rates.
The S&P 500 added 0.19%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.64%, and the Nasdaq was up 0.16%.
Oil prices fell Monday with West Texas Intermediate crude down 3.5% to $55.16 a barrel after a brief rebound earlier. Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said his country was prepared to increase output to meet the demands of new customers, according to Saudi newspaper al-Hayat.
As Wall Street enters its final two holiday-shortened weeks of the year, trading volume likely will remain light and corporate announcements scant. Existing home sales slid 6.1% to 4.93 million in November, down from 5.25 million a month earlier and missing estimates of an annualized pace of 5.17 million.
"This morning's disappointing home sales figures are part of the reason for the [Fed's] more lackluster assessment of the U.S. economy," said Sterne Agee chief economist Lindsey Piegza in a note. "Despite modest improvements in the labor market, consumers are still struggling with minimal income growth, dilapidated savings and in some cases, limited access to credit."