Consumer stocks turned higher in afternoon trading, with shares of consumer staples companies in the S&P 500 climbing about 0.2%, reversing an earlier decline, while shares of consumer discretionary firms in the S&P 500 were ahead by more than 0.5%.
In company news, Dean Foods (DF) was holding on to a solid gain late Wednesday after the food processor launched a joint venture with CROPP to grow the Organic Valley milk brand.
Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Under terms of the 50/50 joint venture, Dean Foods will provide processing services and distribution through its extensive refrigerated distribution network while Organic Valley will provide its portfolio of recognized brands and products. DF shares were up almost 3% at $19.33 apiece, matching their session high.