NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks were narrowly mixed by the final hour of trading Tuesday as earlier upward momentum faded. Crude oil closed at its highest level this year, helping to sustain a rally in the energy sector.
The S&P 500 added 0.02%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.03%, and the Nasdaq slipped 0.06%.
Crude oil closed at its highest level of 2015 as investors predict weekly data out Wednesday will show a drop in domestic crude inventories. West Texas Intermediate crude gained 1.8% to $61.26 a barrel.
The Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries is expected to keep production at record highs when members meet on Friday. OPEC has a target of 30 million barrels per day and major player Saudi Arabia is currently producing oil at record levels.
"The current reality is still characterized by considerable oversupply, which is likely to be confirmed initially by OPEC's decision on Friday," Commerzbank analysts wrote in a note. "We therefore envisage short-term correction potential."
Federal Reserve Gov. Lael Brainard struck a dovish tone in her first speech on monetary policy.
"Consumer spending so far this year has been undeniably weak," said Brainard in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "I think there is value to watchful waiting while additional data help clarify the economy's underlying momentum in the face of the headwinds from abroad."
The Fed will meet on June 16-17 to discuss monetary policy. Brainard always has a vote in her role as a governor.
Factory orders in April declined 0.4%, a disappointing result after jumping 2.1% in March. Economists had expected the measure to remain unchanged.
European markets declined Wednesday after Greece submitted its latest list of reforms to creditors, though sources have told Reuters that the plan offers no major new concessions. Leaders of Germany, France and a number of Greece's other international creditors said on Monday they would work with "real intensity" to seal a deal to prevent Athens from defaulting.
Trouble in Greece is reaching a boiling point as the debt-ravaged country faces a repayment to the International Monetary Fund on Friday of 300 million euros ($329 million). In total, Greece needs to repay the IMF nearly 1.6 billion euros ($1.75 billion) this month.
"The negotiations between the Greek government and the official lenders remain in a state of flux," Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in a note. "A full solution appears unlikely at this stage."
Macy's (M) shares shot higher after Reuters reported several hedge funds had asked the retailer to consider options for its real estate. Suggestions included selling some locations and leasing them back. TheStreet previously covered the company's consideration of what to do with its real estate portfolio.
Intel (INTC) dragged on the Dow, falling 1.6% after BMO Capital downgraded the chipmaker to "market perform." BMO analysts said they believe Altera (ALTR) is worth less than what Intel paid for the company. Click here for more.
Ford (F) shares were higher after sales in May fell at a slower-than-expected pace. Auto sales slid 1.3% to 250,813 units in May, a far narrower drop than an expected 3.3% decline. General Motors (GM) added 0.8% after reporting a 3% increase in U.S. auto sales, compared to an expected 1% decline. Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) reported a 4% increase in U.S. auto sales to 202,227 units. Analysts expected sales to increase 2.6%.
Dollar General (DG) rose 3.2% after beating analysts' quarterly estimates on its bottom line. The discount retailer earned 84 cents a share in its first quarter, 3 cents higher than expected, while same-store sales rose 3.7%.
Cracker Barrel (CBRL) jumped nearly 6% after reporting a 23% increase in quarterly earnings in its most recent quarter. The restaurant chain also boosted its full-year profit guidance to $6.60 to $6.70 a share, up from previous guidance of $6.40 to $6.50.
Plug Power (PLUG) added 5.5% after the alternative fuel-cell developer announced an expansion contract with Wal-Mart (WMT) Canada to provide 124 GenDrive fuel cells to its Alberta distribution center.
Delta Air Lines (DAL) fell after reporting disappointing May traffic results. The airline reported a load factor of 85.4% compared to 86.5% a year earlier. Capacity rose 4%.