The Dow Jones Industrial Average pared gains and the rest of Wall Street came off highs by mid-afternoon as crude oil made a surprise turn into the red.
The S&P 500 added 0.38%, the Dow was flat, and the Nasdaq rose 0.62%.
Crude oil tumbled on Thursday afternoon heading into its close. Prices had been higher earlier in the session on continued hopes of a production freeze agreement among major oil producers. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih added to hopes on Thursday after expressing his confidence that Organization Petroleum Exporting Countries would follow through on the details of a deal sketched out at a meeting in Algeria in September. OPEC will meet in Vienna on Nov. 30.
"After three months of build-up, we agree that some deal to limit output is likely since OPEC has to be aware that the failure to finalize an agreement would have strongly bearish price implications," said Tim Evans, energy futures specialist at Citi. "At the same time, however, we remain skeptical that OPEC can execute the full pivot from no limits at all to an effective quota system in one step."
West Texas Intermediate crude was down 0.6% to $45.32 a barrel by the middle of the afternoon session.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen reinforced the chances of a rate hike in December, telling lawmakers that an interest rate hike could come "relatively soon." Yellen noted that the labor market continued to show strength and that the economy appeared to have recovered from a sluggish start to the year. Yellen also repeated the stance that the current state of the economy will likely "warrant only gradual increases in the federal funds rate over time" and noted that a delay could impact financial stability.