Wall Street eked out a record for a second session in a row on Wednesday, but trading was subdued as investors searched for catalysts that could breathe new life into the rally.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 39 points, or 0.18%, to 22,158. The S&P 500 gained two points, or 0.08%, to 2,498 and the Nasdaq Composite added six points, or 0.09%, to 6,460.
Energy stocks were among the best performers in the S&P 500 on Wednesday, rising alongside oil prices after the International Energy Agency said a global supply surplus was starting to shrink.
The S&P 500 energy sector gained 1.2%, posting its ninth day of gains in the past 10 sessions. Wednesday marked the first time this year the sector accomplished that feat.
Chevron shares rose 1.5%, accounting for nearly a third of the Dow industrials’ gain for the day. Chesapeake Energy rose 5.3%.
Earlier, stocks held steady and the dollar rose after the Labour Department said the producer-price index increased 0.2% in August from a month earlier.
Shares of Apple Inc. slipped 0.8% after the tech giant on Tuesday revealed its new lineup of gadgets, but the much anticipated new flagship iPhone X won’t be delivered until November.
Centene Corp. climbed 8% after the health insurer said late on Tuesday it has signed an agreement in which Fidelis Care will become Centene’s health plan in the state of New York.
SeaDrill Ltd. surged 20% after the offshore driller said late on Tuesday it has filed for bankruptcy protection and agreed to a major restructuring plan with its senior lenders.
Western Digital Corp. dropped 3.4% after losing out on a Toshiba Corp. deal.
Nordstrom Inc. rallied 6% after a report late on Tuesday that the retailer is taking steps to go private.
In Asia, shares were mostly flat on Thursday after the release of softer-than-expected China data.
Japan's Nikkei 225 edged down 0.03% after three straight days of gains. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi rose 0.04%. Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.19%.
The Hang Seng Index declined 0.39% in early trade. Mainland markets were mixed: the Shanghai Composite traded 0.01% below the flat line while the Shenzhen Composite added 0.13%.