NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The S&P 500 bagged a fresh closing high, shrugging off fresh five-year lows for oil prices. The benchmark index climbed 0.09% to close at just under 2,091, a mere 2 points from its all-time intraday high.
"A lot of good news is already reflected in equity prices so I think we'll go sideways into the New Year, though still with an upward bias as we look further into the year based on favorable macro and fundamental factors," said Terry Sandven, senior equity strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management, in a call.
Oil prices resumed their selloff in the afternoon session as fires at Libya's central oil export port failed to nip oversupply concerns in the bud. A global supply glut has been exacerbated by flagging demand in key regions such as China and a reluctance by OPEC members to limit production.
West Texas Intermediate crude slipped 2% to $53.69 a barrel after jumping more than 1% earlier in the session.
"The path of least resistance for WTI remains to the downside as long as rates stay below previous-support-turned-resistance at $54.50, and even a move back above that key level would only shift the near-term bias back to neutral within last week's range," Matthew Weller, senior technical analyst at FOREX.com, said in a note. "As it stands, there is no sign of bullish reinforcement on the horizon for oil."
Morningstar's Matthew Coffina remains confident in crude's eventual bounce, though. "While we've lowered our near-term oil price expectations in line with the market, our long-run oil price forecast remains $100/barrel for Brent and $90/barrel for West Texas Intermediate," he wrote in a report.
Gilead Sciences (GILD) was 3.7% higher after the biotech company announced it had expanded an agreement with Janssen R&D Ireland. Earlier, Morgan Stanley analysts upgraded Gilead to "overweight" from "equal weight," citing recent selloffs triggered by AbbVie's (ABBV) deal with Express Scripts (ESRX) .
The Manitowoc Company (MTW) jumped nearly 9% as activist investor Carl Icahn disclosed a 7.77% stake. Icahn hopes to break up the company's heavy machinery and cranes segment and its food-service equipment branch into two separate businesses.
Sony (SNE) shares were down 0.52% even after the studio reported $15 million sales from its digital distribution of controversial film 'The Interview.' The film has been streamed or purchased two million times via Google Play and YouTube.
LiveDeal (LIVE) jumped 18.5% after the online marketing small-cap reported third-quarter revenue 209% higher year over year. Net losses of 35 cents a share came in a penny wider than expected.
Google's (GOOG) Gmail email service has become unavailable in China after a steady decline in traffic since Friday. The Chinese government is reportedly behind the block, The New York Times reported. Google shares down 0.76%.
--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.