Stocks were narrowly mixed by the final hour of trading Monday as the energy sector sold off on a drop in crude prices.
The S&P 500 was down 0.1%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.05%, while the Nasdaq was up 0.22%.
The energy sector was the worst performer on markets after weak Chinese growth and impending Iranian oil on global markets widened the gap between supply and demand. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 2.3% to $46.19 a barrel.
Oil companies sold off in response. Among the major oilers, Exxon Mobil (XOM - Get Report) , Chevron (CVX - Get Report) , PetroChina (PTR - Get Report) , Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A - Get Report) and ConocoPhillips (COP - Get Report) were all lower, while the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE - Get Report) slid 2.2%.
China's economy grew 6.9% during the third quarter, a drop from the 7% growth in the first half of the year, and the worst reading since the global financial crisis in 2009. The results, though slower than the first half, came in better than the 6.8% growth economists had expected. Industrial production data was also released and showed a drop to 5.7% from 6.1%. Global markets have been volatile over the past two months as investors grow more concerned over the health of the world's second-largest economy.
"We see little recovery in production and investment data," Societe Generale analysts wrote in a note. "The resilience of consumption and services, which has limited data to show for, remained the growth pillar. This is still a set of data that calls for more policy easing. Another rate cut from the [People's Bank of China] now looks imminent."
Iran has called on the Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries to cut oil production, days before the country can release its own oil onto global markets. Iranian oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said OPEC should manage the market by reducing production to bring prices back to at least $70 a barrel. Iran will be able to increase oil exports by 500,000 barrels a day next week after the removal of sanctions.
Sentiment in the housing industry jumped to its best level since 2005, the end of the housing boom. Confidence increased by 3 points to 64, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing market index. Economists had expected the measure to increase to 62.
Morgan Stanley (MS - Get Report) shares fell more than 5% on a drop in quarterly profit. The bank joined Goldman Sachs (GS - Get Report) and JPMorgan (JPM - Get Report) in blaming a drop in bond-trading revenue as reason for declining income. Morgan Stanley reported net income of 48 cents a share, down from 83 cents a year earlier. Excluding one-time gains, profit fell to 34 cents a share and missed estimates of 63 cents.
General Electric (GE - Get Report) moved higher after it began its offer to exchange shares of GE for Synchrony Financial (SYF - Get Report) stock at a 7% discount. Synchrony will become a stand-alone savings and loan company following the exchange offer. Investors and analysts alike have had their confidence renewed in GE as the company offloads its financial businesses to focus on manufacturing. Shares have jumped more than 16% since the beginning of the month.
Deutsche Bank (DB - Get Report) added more than 2% after announcing a major restructuring. The bank plans to split its investment bank into two units: one which will focus on corporate and investment banking, and the other on sales and trading. Several executives will be leaving as part of the restructuring including Colin Fan, co-head of investment banking.
Halliburton (HAL - Get Report) shares were slightly lower after the oil company reported a mixed quarter. Like other oil companies in recent quarters, Halliburton reported better-than-expected profit, while its top-line took a big hit on declining commodity prices. Revenue slid 36% to $5.58 billion.
Weight Watchers (WTW) rocketed more than 80% higher after Oprah Winfrey took a 10% stake in the company. Winfrey will also join its board. Weight Watchers has struggled in recent years as memberships decline.
Hasbro (HAS - Get Report) shares were on watch after a mixed quarter. The toymaker earned $1.58 a share, 6 cents above estimates, while revenue of $1.47 billion came in flat from a year earlier. Excluding currency exchange, sales rose 6%, driven by a 24% increase in its boys segment.
Match announced plans to go public on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol 'MTCH.' Owner IAC/InterActive (IACI) will retain 50% of voting rights of the dating app and Web site company following the float. Match generated revenue of $888.3 million in 2014, up 11% from a year earlier.