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Wall Street flat ahead of holiday; ISPs rise on net neutrality bets
November 22, 2017 / 2:54 PM / 21 days ago

Wall Street flat ahead of holiday; ISPs rise on net neutrality bets

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Wednesday, with telecom services shares among the biggest movers while the energy sector rose in line with gains in crude oil.

Verizon (VZ.N) and AT&T (T.N) rose 2.0 percent and 1.6 percent respectively on bets they will benefit from the U.S. government’s plan to rescind net neutrality rules put in place by the Obama administration.

These stocks are up “given the end is in sight for net neutrality as it had been defined in 2015,” said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.

“They would be allowed to charge the originators of the data to more accurately reflect the speed and the volume of data.”

With three Republican and two Democratic commissioners, the Federal Communications Commission is all but certain to approve the change.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE.N) Chief Executive Meg Whitman said she would step down in February, sending the company’s shares down 7.2 percent to $13.10.

HP Inc (HPQ.N), which holds the computer and printer business that Whitman carved out of Hewlett Packard, lost 5.0 percent after reporting an unimpressive profit.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 64.65 points, or 0.27 percent, to 23,526.18, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 1.95 points, or 0.08 percent, to 2,597.08 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 4.88 points, or 0.07 percent, to 6,867.36.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., November 20, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The S&P 500 energy index .SPNY rose 0.4 percent as U.S. crude CLc1 prices jumped 2.1 percent. [O/R]

Many Federal Reserve policymakers expect interest rates to be raised in the “near term,” according to the minutes of the U.S. central bank’s most recent policy meeting released on Wednesday. Stock investors were not surprised by the minutes and the market barely moved after their release.

“Not a lot of revelations came through in the Fed minutes,” said John Velis, vice president of Global Macro Strategy at State Street Global Markets in Boston.

“Seems everyone is packed up.”

Trading volumes were thin ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday and an early close on Friday. About 5.18 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges, compared with the 6.66 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions. Last year, volume during the session before Thanksgiving was 6.51 billion.

Shares of chipmaker Qualcomm (QCOM.O) rose 2.2 percent after Reuters reported Broadcom (AVGO.O) is considering raising its offer to buy its larger rival by offering more of its own stock.

Tractor maker Deere & Co (DE.N) rose 4.3 percent to $145.25 and touched a record high of $146.00 after reporting upbeat quarterly earnings and issuing a strong profit forecast for the year.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.30-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.09-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 25 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 151 new highs and 20 new lows.

Reporting by Rodrigo Campos in New York Additional reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by James Dalgleish

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