Wall Street ends lit­tle changed as Har­vey pum­mels Texas

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The S&P 500 and Dow ended lit­tle changed on Mon­day, with en­ergy and bank shares lower as Trop­i­cal Storm Har­vey crip­pled the US en­ergy hub in Texas, while tech and health­care gave a light boost to the Nas­daq.

NEW YORK — The S&P 500 and Dow ended lit­tle changed on Mon­day, with en­ergy and bank shares lower as trop­i­cal storm Har­vey crip­pled the US en­ergy hub in Texas, while tech and health care gave a light boost to the Nas­daq.

Har­vey, the most pow­er­ful hur­ri­cane to strike the south­ern US state in more than 50 years when it came ashore on Fri­day, dumped more rain on Hous­ton on Mon­day, and the flood­ing could worsen as engi­neers re­lease water from over­flow­ing reser­voirs to keep it from jump­ing dams and surg­ing un­con­trol­lably.

Mar­ket an­a­lysts said de­spite the hu­man drama and in­fra­struc­ture devastation, the mar­ket could take so­lace in the fact that a mas­sive re­build­ing ef­fort would mostly off­set the neg­a­tive eco­nomic con­se­quences of the flood­ing.

US crude fu­tures fell 2.50% to $46.68 per bar­rel over con­cerns that the re­fin­ery shut­downs could trig­ger an in­crease in crude in­ven­to­ries. Gaso­line prices, how­ever, rose.

Oil ma­jors Exxon and Chevron were down 0.30% and 0.40% re­spec­tively. Re­finer Valero En­ergy climbed 1.10%.

In­vestors sought safe- haven as­sets, with gold ris­ing to its high­est in nearly 10 months.

But the search for safe havens was ac­com­pa­nied by stock pick­ing in Home De­pot, which rose 1.20%, and other com­pa­nies likely to ben­e­fit from re­build­ing ef­forts in the re­gion. “Home De­pot will most cer­tainly see a fi­nan­cial ben­e­fit from hur­ri­cane Har­vey, just as it did from hur­ri­cane Sandy back in 2013,” said Neil Saun­ders, manag­ing di­rec­tor of Glob­alData Re­tail.

The S& P 500 fi­nan­cial sec­tor was the largest weight on the in­dex, with a 0.50% drop.

“There tends to be ini­tially a knee- jerk re­ac­tion and peo­ple re­act to the hu­man side and the en­ergy dis­rup­tion, but that eases soon,” said Jim Paulsen, chief in­vest­ment strate­gist at The Leuthold Group in Min­neapo­lis, of the mar­ket’s re­ac­tion to the ma­jor storm and its af­ter­math.

“This is a mas­sive hu­man tragedy and the worst of it may not be over yet, but as far as stock mar­ket im­pact I don’t know if it is net-net a huge neg­a­tive con­sid­er­ing the fact it will bring in huge stim­u­lus to the re­gion.”

The Dow Jones In­dus­trial Aver­age fell 5.27 points, or 0.02%, to close at 21,808.40; the S& P 500 gained 1.19 points, or 0.05%, to 2,444.24

The Nas­daq Com­pos­ite added 17.37 points, or 0.28%, to 6,283.02 helped by rises in Apple and Gilead Sci­ences.

De­clin­ing is­sues out­num­bered ad­vanc­ing ones on the NYSE by 1.14-to-1; on Nas­daq, a 1.02-to-1 ra­tio fa­vored de­clin­ers.

About 5.13 bil­lion shares changed hands in US ex­changes, com­pared with the near six bil­lion daily aver­age over the last 20 ses­sions. —

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