However, with gasoline futures up in anticipation of reduced supply and higher prices, shares of refiners were on the rise: CVR Energy soared 4.6 percent and Marathon Petroleum rose 1.6 percent while Valero Energy Corp rose 1.1 percent.
"What it tells you is a slight risk-off trade".
S&P 500 e-minis were up 3.75 points, or 0.15 percent, with 128,391 contracts traded.
"There tends to be initially a knee-jerk reaction and people react to the human side and the energy disruption, but that eases soon", said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at The Leuthold Group in Minneapolis, of the market's reaction to the major storm and its aftermath.
Harvey has knocked out a quarter of oil production from the Gulf of Mexico, prompting fears it could overturn years of excess USA oil capacity and low prices.
The October crude contract shed $1.30 to US$46.57 per barrel while the December bullion contract climbed $17.40 to US$1,315.30 an ounce.
USA economic growth had more than halved in the quarter after Hurricane Katrina mauled Louisiana in August 2005.
Research Report For Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc. (SC)
Following the purchase, the chief financial officer now directly owns 122,609 shares in the company, valued at $1,379,351.25. Meeder Asset Management Inc. raised its position in shares of Santander Consumer USA Holdings by 40.3% in the first quarter.
DOD supporting Hurricane Harvey response
Additional Nebraska Army National Guard helicopters and crews are ready to support the mission if requested, officials said. The soldiers are trained and equipped to conduct aeromedical evacuation and rescue missions.
Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto Express derails near Titwala of Maharashtra
Earlier, the Kaifiyat Express derailed on the intervening night of 22 and 23 August, injuring over 50 people. No casualty has been reported so far, reported India Today .
But other sectors, such as home improvement chains, were expected to benefit: Home Depot shares climbed nearly 1.2% and Lowe's was up 0.6%.
At 10:56 a.m. ET (1456 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 9.76 points, or 0.04 percent, at 21,803.91, the S&P 500 was up 2.74 points, or 0.11 percent, at 2,445.79. The Nasdaq Composite added 20.40 points, or 0.33 percent, to 6,286.05.
Shares of Kite Pharmaceuticals soared 28.94 percent after Gilead Sciences agreed to buy the immunotherapy developer in an all-cash deal valued at $11.9 billion.
Oil majors Exxon XOM.N and Chevron CVX.N were down 0.3 percent and 0.4 percent respectively.
Some of the heaviest declines were seen at insurance companies: The Travelers Co fell nearly 2.6%, while Progressive Corp dropped 2.25%. Volume was 6.1 million versus the daily average of 1.77 million shares.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,717 to 790. On the Nasdaq, 1,387 issues rose and 1,282 fell.