updated 9/19/2006 8:00:20 AM ET 2006-09-19T12:00:20

Stocks gave up a moderate early advance to close Monday barely changed after crude oil prices rebounded from their recent decline, rising as much as $1 a barrel.

Major Market Indices

Investors also moved to the sidelines to wait for Wednesday’s Federal Reserve meeting on interest rate policy. Wall Street had been flirting with 2006 highs, but the market remains anxious about the possibility the Fed could raise its benchmark short-term rate, which is now at 5.25 percent. Readings of economic growth and inflation remain mixed; the rise in oil carries with it concerns that inflation will accelerate.

The energy and materials sectors were the afternoon’s winners.

“The most significant thing going on today is just the recovery of energy and energy services,” said Richard E. Cripps, chief market strategist for Stifel Nicolaus, a broker based in St. Louis. Some of the indexes that track those groups have lost 7 percent this month as oil fell, he said.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 5.77 points, or 0.05 percent, at the close of trading, while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index was up 1.31 points, or 0.10 percent. The Nasdaq composite index, full of technology stocks, added 0.16 point, or 0.01 percent.

The day’s economic news was cheerless. The Commerce Department said America’s deficit in the broadest measure of foreign trade increased in the spring to the second highest level in history , reflecting a big jump in payments for foreign oil. The current account deficit rose to $218.4 billion in the April-June quarter, an increase of 2.4 percent over the deficit the first three months of the year.

The current account is the broadest measure of foreign trade because it covers not only trade in goods and services but also investment flows between countries. The deficit represents the amount the United States must borrow from foreigners to cover the shortfall between exports and imports.

“The market is looking ahead to slower economic growth, but not necessarily negative growth,” said Peter Cardillo, chief strategist, senior vice president and market analyst, S.W. Bach & Co.

Bonds fell, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note at 4.81 percent, up from 4.79 percent Friday. The U.S. dollar was mostly higher against other major currencies. Gold prices rose. Crude oil futures rose . A barrel of light crude settled at $63.80, up 47 cents on the New York Mercantile Exchange after earlier rising more than $1.

Freescale Semiconductor Inc., a maker of cell phone chips, rose $2.10 to $39.26, a 5.65 percent increase, on news it would be bought by a private equity consortium in a $17.6 billion cash deal.

Ford Motor Co. fell 20 cents to $7.82 after its departing chief operating officer, Anne Stevens, told the Detroit Free Press Sunday, “The company has too many layers, the company is too bureaucratic, and it takes too long to get things done.” Ford said Friday it would offer buyouts to 75,000 union workers .

Hewlett-Packard Co. rose 22 cents to $36.40, continuing to rise despite new revelations about its leak probe. The Wall Street Journal reported its leak investigation appears to have continued for several weeks this spring after the source of leaked information from its board of directors was identified.

Retailer Sharper Image Corp. fell 34 cents to $9.35 after it said it would delay its second-quarter report due to a previously disclosed review of stock option practices.

Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei stock average fell 0.47 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.22 percent, Germany’s DAX index fell 0.19 percent and France’s CAC-40 slipped 0.04 percent.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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