After moving higher over the two previous sessions, stocks showed a lack of direction throughout the trading day on Wednesday. The major averages spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.
The major averages eventually ended the session modestly higher, reaching new record closing highs. The Dow rose 39.32 points or 0.2 percent to 22,158.18, the Nasdaq inched up 5.91 points or 0.1 percent to 6,460.19 and the S&P 500 edged up 1.89 points or 0.1 percent to 2,498.37.
The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders expressed some uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets following recent strength.
Traders also stuck to the sidelines ahead of the release of some key economic data over the next couple days.
Reports on consumer prices and weekly jobless claims are due to be released on Thursday, while data on retail sales, industrial production and consumer sentiment is scheduled for Friday.
A report released by the Labor Department this morning showed producer prices rose by slightly less than expected in the month of August.
The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand edged up by 0.2 percent in August after slipping by 0.1 percent in July. Economists had expected the index to climb by 0.3 percent.
Excluding food and energy prices, core producer prices inched up by 0.1 percent in August after dipping by 0.1 percent in July. Core prices had been expected to rise by 0.2 percent.
Traders also kept an eye on Washington, where House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., revealed Republicans will release an outline of their tax reform plan the week of September 25th.
Speaking to reporters, Ryan said the outline will represent a consensus between the House Ways And Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, and the Trump administration.
Ryan said the tax writing committees would take feedback and input on the outline and then produce their bills in the weeks ahead.
Most of the major sectors ended the day showing only modest moves, contributing to the lackluster close by the broader markets.
Energy stocks saw considerable strength, however, with an increase by the price of crude oil generating buying interest. Crude oil for October delivery jumped $1.07 to $49.30 a barrel.
Reflecting the strength in the energy sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index and the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index surged up by 2.3 percent 1.9 percent, respectively.
On the other hand, gold stocks showed a notable move to the downside, moving…