NEW YORK — U.S. stocks gave up a promising start and finished mostly lower Wednesday as investors continued to worry about lagging wages and energy companies dropped with the price of oil.

Stocks climbed early as a solid quarter from Morgan Stanley revived optimism about banks, and strong results from auto and industrial parts distributor Genuine Parts sent car makers and suppliers higher.

The gains began to fade around noon as oil prices and energy companies sagged. The losses accelerated after the midafternoon release of the Federal Reserve’s “Beige Book” survey of economic conditions.

The Fed said economic growth continued from mid-March into early April and pay improved for some workers. But investors have been wondering when rising statistics like consumer confidence will start to turn into better pay and greater spending.

“Show me where those numbers are translating into something more than just feelings,” said Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist at Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 finished down 4.02 points, or 0.2 percent, at 2,338.17. The Dow lost 118.79 points, or 0.6 percent, to 20,404.49. The Nasdaq rose 13.56 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,863.03.