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Indexes End Mixed As 2 Sectors Dominate, Oil Settles At 2-Year High | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis

Major stock indexes ended mixed and mostly unchanged Wednesday ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

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The Dow Jones industrial average lost 0.3%, the S&P 500 eased 0.1% and the Nasdaq edged higher by 0.1%, good for another record closing high. Preliminary data showed volume on the NYSE and Nasdaq coming in lower than Tuesday’s levels. The stock market will be closed Thursday and open for a half session Friday, closing at 1 p.m. ET.

In the stock market today, Centene (CNC) rallied 3% to 96.94. It’s near the top of a flat base with a 98.82 entry.  The gain was fueled by new ObamaCare enrollment data that showed continued strong signups. Several medical-related industry groups were among the day’s top-10 performers. Centene is a member of the IBD 50 index of leading growth stocks.

Oil drillers and exploration and production firms also outperformed as benchmark crude oil jumped 2.1% to $58.02 a barrel, the highest close in more than two years. After finding support at the 50-day moving average, Matador Resources (MTDR) reclaimed a 27.97 buy point Wednesday, rising nearly 2% to 28.07.

The minutes from the Nov. 1 Fed meeting were released at 2 p.m. ET. The minutes showed the FOMC grappling with continued low inflation despite an improving economy and the tightest labor market in years. Wall Street remains confident about a quarter-point rate hike at the Dec. 13 meeting.

The 10-year Treasury yield was recently trading around 2.32%, down 4 basis points.

In earnings news, Deere & Company (DE) was a nice gainer, up 4%, after the company reported strong earnings and sales before the open. Quarterly profit jumped 74% from the year-ago quarter, while sales growth accelerated again, rising 23% to just over $8 billion. The maker of farm, turf, construction and forestry equipment was already extended from a couple of recent buy points headed into its earnings report.

HP Inc. (HPQ) slumped 5% despite in-line earnings and better-than-expected sales. Earnings guidance for the current quarter was also in line, but the company did not give a sales target. HP Inc. managed a solid close and found support at the 50-day moving average.

In related news, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) didn’t fare much better. Shares slumped 7% after the company reported better-than-expected earnings and its first quarter of sales growth in quite some time. Wall Street seemed shaken by news that CEO Meg Whitman will step down effective February 2018.

Copart (CPRT) was a big gainer, soaring nearly 12%, after the provider of online car auctions reported its second straight quarter of accelerating earnings and sales growth. After a recent breakout from a flat base, Copart has quickly become extended after a bullish bounce off the 10-week moving average.

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