NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks closed only slightly lower Thursday, recovering from heavier losses sustained earlier in the day. Crude oil, which had been a major pressure earlier in the session, reversed course by the afternoon and closed higher.
The S&P 500 was down 0.12%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2%, and the Nasdaq slipped 0.17%.
West Texas Intermediate crude gained 0.3% to $57.68 a barrel. Earlier, the Energy Information Administration reported a decline of 2.8 million barrels in crude supplies for the week ended May 22. Economists had expected inventories to fall by 1.8 million barrels.
Energy remained the worst-performing sector on the S&P 500, however. The sector was under pressure as the U.S. dollar continued its run higher on signs the Federal Reserve would hike rates as key international markets such as the eurozone introduce their own monetary stimulus. The stronger U.S. dollar was hurting perceived demand for U.S. oil traded in the greenback.
Joy Global (JOY) and Transocean (RIG) were among the worst performers on the S&P 500. Joy Global was lower ahead of its earnings report scheduled for release next week. Transocean fell after Chief Financial Officer Esa Ikaheimonen said he is stepping down, effective immediately.