* S&P 500 posts 3.4 pct gain for month
* Energy index jumps as oil prices soar
* OPEC agreement also lifts bond yields
* Russell 2000 has best monthly gain in 5 years
* Dow up 0.01 pct, S&P down 0.3 pct, Nasdaq down 1.1 pct
(Updates close with Russell 2000 monthly gains, economic data)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
Nov 30 U.S. stocks ended with big gains for
November on Wednesday thanks to a sharp post-election rally but
finished the day mostly lower as drops in utilities and
technology offset energy's surge.
Energy shares jumped with oil prices after OPEC agreed to
cut production. U.S. oil prices soared 9.3
percent, while the S&P energy index jumped 4.8 percent.
Bank shares also rose after comments by Steven Mnuchin,
President-elect Donald Trump's pick for U.S. Treasury secretary,
told CNBC that tax reforms and trade pact overhauls would be
top priorities of the new administration.
Bank of America gained 4.5 percent, while Goldman
Sachs ended up 3.6 percent and hit a high of $220.77, its
best level since the financial crisis.
But top dividend payers like utilities and
telecommunications companies, whose stocks tend to fall as
interest rates rise, declined as U.S. bond yields jumped. The
S&P utility index was down 3.2 percent, while shares
of AT&T fell 2.2 percent.
Investor expectations are high that the Federal Reserve will
raise benchmark U.S. interest rates at its December meeting.
"There's some symmetry in the day," said Mark Luschini,
chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott in
"We've come a long way and we were biting off a lot of
expectations as to what's to come. At some point the market is
just due for a pause, and we may be in the midst of that now."
For the day, the Dow Jones industrial average was up
1.98 points, or 0.01 percent, to 19,123.58, the S&P 500
lost 5.85 points, or 0.27 percent, to 2,198.81 and the Nasdaq
Composite dropped 56.24 points, or 1.05 percent, to
For November, the Dow rose 5.4 percent, its best monthly
gain since March, while the S&P 500 was up 3.4 percent and the
Nasdaq was up 2.6 percent.
All three indexes hit record highs this month. Investors
expect Trump's election will lead to higher spending on
infrastructure and simpler regulations.
Some of the best-performing stocks in the post-election
rally have been small caps. The Russell 2000, which
dipped 0.4 percent on Wednesday, added 11 percent for November,
its best monthly performance in five years.
Among gainers for the day, shares of CSX rose 2.9
percent following an upbeat forecast.
In the latest signs of economic strength that could further
cement the case for a rate hike, U.S. private employers stepped
up hiring in November and consumer spending increased last
month, data showed.
Volume was well above average. About 9.5 billion shares
changed hands on U.S. exchanges, compared with the 7.9 billion
daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a
1.53-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.82-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 65 new 52-week highs and three new lows;
the Nasdaq Composite recorded 185 new highs and 47 new lows.
(Additional reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru;
Editing by Nick Zieminski and James Dalgleish)