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Stocks slip ahead of Thanksgiving break

The floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
(Richard Drew / Associated Press)

Stocks mostly slipped away from their latest record highs Wednesday as the two former halves of Hewlett-Packard both tumbled, while falling interest rates helped phone companies but hurt banks.

The price of oil jumped on reports OPEC and a group of other countries might extend the cuts in production they made at the start of this year. That took energy companies higher. Hewlett Packard Enterprise sank after it said CEO Meg Whitman will retire, while printer and PC maker HP lost ground after its latest quarterly report.

Interest rates fell after the Federal Reserve released minutes from its latest meeting, which ended Nov. 1. While most officials were comfortable raising interest rates soon, as investors think they will do in December, a few Fed leaders think rates should stay where they are until there is more evidence inflation is rising.

The Fed has suggested it wants to raise rates three more times next year, but many are skeptical that it will.

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The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dipped 1.95 points, or 0.1%, to 2,597.08. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 64.65 points, or 0.3%, to 23,526.18. The Nasdaq composite rose 4.88 points, or 0.1%, to a record 6,867.36. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 2.13 points, or 0.1%, to 1,516.76.

U.S. markets will be closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday. They will reopen Friday but will close at 1 p.m. ET.

The two main companies that once comprised Hewlett-Packard took the largest losses in the S&P 500. Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which sells data-center hardware and tech gear, dropped after it announced company President Antonio Neri will replace Whitman as CEO on Feb 1. Whitman became CEO of Hewlett-Packard in 2011 and oversaw its split in 2015. HPE also reported mixed fourth-quarter results.

Analysts said they were surprised by the timing because Whitman suggested last month that she wasn’t leaving soon.

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HP Enterprise fell $1.02, or 7.2%, to $13.10. Meanwhile HP Inc., which sells PCs and printers, had a solid quarter but couldn’t sustain the gains it’s made this year. The stock lost $1.12, or 5%, to $21.34. It’s up 44% in 2017.

Bond prices started the day with small gains, which sent yields lower. Yields moved lower still as investors looked over the Federal Reserve minutes. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.32% from 2.36%.

The dollar also weakened as investors expected lower interest rates. It sank to 111.17 yen from 112.44 yen. The euro rose to $1.1822 from $1.1742.

U.S. crude rose $1.19, or 2.1%, to $58.02 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 75 cents, or 1.2%, to $63.32 a barrel in London. Reuters reported that Saudi Arabia, the biggest oil exporter in the world, wants the OPEC cartel to extend this year’s cut in oil production for another nine months.

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Gold added $10.50 to $1,292.20 an ounce. Silver rose 15 cents to $17.11 an ounce.


UPDATES:

2:35 p.m.: This article was updated for the market’s close.

This article was originally published at 7:50 a.m.

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