The Dow Jones Industrial Average set a new intraday record on Wednesday but Wall Street struggled for gains as biotech shares declined following a sharp drop in shares of Eli Lilly (LLY) .
The Dow rose 0.2% to 19,056, the S&P 500 declined 0.1%, and the Nasdaq fell 0.36%.
Orders for long-lasting goods in the U.S. increased 4.8% in October, according to the Census Bureau. Analysts anticipated far-slower growth of 1.5%. Excluding transportation, orders rose at a slower 1% pace. Core capital goods orders increased 0.4%, while core shipments climbed 0.2%.
Jobless claims rose in the past week, though remained at multi-decade lows. The number of new claims for unemployment benefits increased by 18,000 to 251,000, according to the Labor Department. The less-volatile, four-week average fell 2,000 to 251,000.
New-home sales fell 1.9% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 563,000. Economists were looking for new home sales of 595,000.
The final University of Michigan Sentiment Index for November rose to 93.8, ahead of estimates of a reading of 91.6.
Wall Street's benchmark indexes scored record closes for the second day in a row on Tuesday. The S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq each recorded all-time high closes, even though gains were modest. The Dow also closed above 19,000 for the first time in its history.
Crude oil prices turned higher on Wednesday after the Energy Information Administration reported that domestic crude supplies for the week ended Nov. 18 fell by 1.3 million barrels.
West Texas Intermediate crude rose slightly to $48.04 a barrel on Wednesday morning after trading lower for much of the session.
Minutes from the Federal Reserve's meeting earlier in November, to be released Wednesday afternoon, will be closely scrutinized for confirmation that an interest rate hike in December is a go. The Federal Open Market Committee opted to leave rates unchanged at its November meeting, but reiterated that the case for a hike had strengthened. Fed members have recently taken a hawkish tone, pointing to upward trends in inflation and a robust labor market as reason the economy is ready for another rate hike.
A rate hike in December has a high probability among Wall Street pundits with any doubt after Donald Trump's recent election as U.S. president quickly evaporating. The chances of a December rate hike currently sit at 98%, according to CME Group fed funds futures.
Deere (DE) rose 10% after reporting a better-than-expected quarter. The farming equipment maker earned 90 cents a share over its October-ended quarter, down from $1.08 a share a year earlier but much higher than consensus of 40 cents. Deere expects equipment sales to decline 4% in the first quarter and 1% for fiscal 2017.
Eli Lilly slumped more than 11% after a late-stage trial of an Alzheimer's drug didn't meet its primary endpoint. "The results of the solanezumab EXPEDITION3 trial were not what we had hoped for," CEO John C. Lechleiter said in a statement. The drugmaker will evaluate the results and assess development of solanezumab and other dementia treatments in development.
The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) was lower.
Juno Therapeutics (JUNO) halted a clinical trial involving its most advanced CAR-T therapy for the second time in five months after another two cancer patients developing brain swelling. The stock tumbled 32%.
GameStop (GME) rose 5.6% despite reporting a decline in third-quarter sales and guiding for a subpar fourth-quarter performance. The video game retailer reported a 3% drop in third-quarter revenue and 6.5% decline in same-store sales. Fourth-quarter earnings are expected between $2.23 and $2.38 a share. Analysts anticipated $2.37.
Urban Outfitters (URBN) slumped 10.1% after falling short of earnings and sales estimates in its third quarter. The apparel retailer earned 40 cents a share, 4 cents below consensus. Revenue climbed 4.5% to $862 million, but fell short of consensus by $7 million.
Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) rose 1.9% after quarterly revenue came in light. The tech company reported fourth-quarter revenue of $12.48 billion, missing estimates by $370 million. Meanwhile, HP (HPQ) , formerly combined with Hewlett-Packard, exceeded its quarterly sales estimates. Revenue climbed 1.9% to $12.5 billion, besting consensus by $620 million. HP declined 3.6%.