U.S. stocks closed little changed near a three-month high as the specter of an interest rate increase this year left investors looking to Friday’s jobs report for fresh signs the economy is strong enough to withstand tightening.
Equities swung between gains and losses in the session as a rally in banks helped erase declines sparked by a renewed selloff in embattled drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. Weakness in commodity producers also held back stocks for a second day.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 0.1 percent to 2,100.13 at 4 p.m. in New York, after earlier falling as much as 0.6 percent.
A rally in equities stalled after reaching a three-month high on Tuesday, after the S&P 500 gained as much as 13 percent from an August low, carry the benchmark to within 1 percent of its record. Gains in the past two months had been paced by a rebound in commodity shares, after they led declines during a summer selloff sparked by worries that weakness in China’s economy would spread.