U.S. stocks wavered between small gains and losses on Wednesday as oil prices remained near $105 a barrel amid reports of intensified fighting in Libya.
The S&P 500 Index declined 2.16 points, or 0.16 percent, to trade at 1,319.66 at 12:04 p.m. EST. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 21.38 points, or 0.18 percent, to trade at 12,235.76. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.49 percent to trade at 2,752.13.
Oil prices remained near $105 a barrel amid reports of intensified fighting in Libya. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries believes supply is adequate, said a Reuters report, quoting an OPEC official, after the group held talks about rising prices and the loss of Libyan supplies.
Moammar Gaddafi-backed forces have reportedly launched fresh air strikes on the key oil port city of Ras Lanuf, raising fears about the vulnerability of local gas facilities and a possible humanitarian catastrophe.
Al Jazeera reported that Libyan government fighter jets were flying above the Ras Lanuf petroleum facilities, but that rebels were firing back.
On the economic front, U.S. wholesale inventories for the month of January rose 1.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted $436.88 billion, while economists expected a 0.9 percent gain. Sales gained 3.4 percent, helped by sales of cars and petroleum.
On the corporate front, Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN) shares fell 2.79 percent after the chip maker narrowed its quarter earnings and sales forecast last Tuesday.
The company now expects sales of $3.34 billion to $3.48 billion, compared with $3.27 billion to $3.55 billion projected earlier. It sees earnings of between 56 cents and 60 cents a share, compared with prior view of 54 cents to 62 cents.
Shares of Finisar Corp. (NASDAQ:FNSR) plunged 35.86 percent after the provider of optical subsystems quided fourth quarter below expectations, blaming business in China and customers adjusting inventories.
On the currency front, the euro gained 0.04 percent to 1.3910 against the dollar while the greenback gained 0.087 percent to 82.7558 against the yen.
Crude oil futures edge lower 0.34 percent to $104.66/barrel while gold futures rose 0.13 percent.