U.S. stocks rose modestly in choppy, low volume-trading on Tuesday, with concerns about Europe offsetting a jump in crude prices.
The market earlier rose as much as 1 percent as crude oil prices spiked above $100 a barrel. But equities trimmed gains after sources said German Chancellor Angela Merkel has rejected any suggestion of raising the limit of Europe's future bailout fund, pushing the euro lower.
Declines in consumer shares also cut into the early advance, as Best Buy
The volume is not qualifying or quantifying any sustained move. Once again, it's just trading within a range, said Ken Polcari, managing director at ICAP Equities in New York.
People are just trying to take some money off the table, he said. The market was up 120 points right out of the gate because there is no participation, so it moves quicker.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 42.99 points, or 0.36 percent, to 12,064.38. The S&P 500 <.SPX> added 4.93 points, or 0.40 percent, to 1,241.40. The Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> edged up 1.14 points, or 0.04 percent, to 2,613.40.
U.S. crude oil futures prices rose more than 3 percent at the session high, trading above $100 a barrel, with traders citing tension between the West and Iran as a possible trigger.
The S&P energy index <.GSPE> added more than 2 percent before trimming gains. It was last up 1.3 percent, with blue-chip Chevron
The Federal Reserve is holding its last meeting of the year on Tuesday, and a statement is expected around 2:15 p.m. Investors look for the Fed to hold off on any fresh economic stimulus as it weighs encouraging signs on the recovery against risks coming from Europe.
U.S. government data showed U.S. retail sales rose less than expected in November as a drop in receipts for food and beverages weighed against stronger sales of motor vehicles, tempering expectations of a strong holiday shopping season.
Best Buy Co Inc
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Jan Paschal)