A slump in energy stocks hit a rebound in Wall Street indexes yesterday as the price of oil plunged the most in two years.
The decline in oil prices followed forecasts for weaker global demand this year and next, a sign of slowing economic growth.
Chevron fell 2%, helping to drag down the Dow Jones industrial average in the waning moments of trading.
Even so, corporate earnings provided some encouragement to investors, and most indexes posted modest gains following a three-day slump.
The major stock indexes remained in positive territory until the last hour of trading, when they began to fade, threatening to deliver the second last-minute slide in two days.
By the end of the day, the Dow had lost 5.88 points, or 0.04%, to 16,315.19.
The S&P 500 index rose 2.96 points, or 0.2%, to 1,877.70.
The Nasdaq gained 13.52 points, or 0.3%, to 4,227.17.
The Dow went negative for the year on Friday. It is now down 1.6% for 2014 and 5.6% below its September peak. The S&P 500 index is up 1.6% for the year.
Six of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 rose, with industrial stocks posting the biggest gain at 1.3%. Energy stocks fell the most, sliding 1.2%.
The price of oil suffered its biggest drop in nearly two years after the International Energy Agency reduced its forecast for demand for this year and 2015.
Benchmark US crude fell 3.90 dollars to close at 81.84 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was the biggest drop since November of 2012, and it is the lowest closing price since June 2012.
Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many US refineries, fell 3.85 dollars to close at 85.04 dollars on the ICE Futures exchange in London. Brent is at its lowest level since November of 2010.