Market Snapshot: Stock market struggles to return to record territory

The S&P 500 and Dow industrials ended slightly lower on Wednesday, weighed down by losses in the energy sector as oil prices continued to slide.

But the Nasdaq Composite posted moderate gains thanks to a surge in biotechnology shares.

The S&P 500 index SPX, -0.06% closed with a loss of 1.42 points, or less than 0.1%, at 2,435.61, with eight of the 11 main sectors in negative territory. A drop in oil prices put pressure on energy shares, which fell 1.6%. Heath-care and technology shares were top gainers, up 1.2% and 0.7%, respectively.

Crude-oil futures CLQ7, +0.07% which entered bear-market territory—pullback of 20% from a recent peak—on Tuesday, extended losses on Wednesday, settling down more than 2%, at $42.39 a barrel as traders looked past a decline in crude inventories to focus on a rise in domestic production.

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