Wall Street idle near record levels in Christmas Eve trade

Reuters December 24 | Updated on December 25, 2019 Published on December 25, 2019

Wall Street hovered near record highs on Tuesday ahead of Christmas break as investors paused after a rally that was fuelled by improving US-China trade relations and optimism about the health of the domestic economy.

The Nasdaq hit an all-time high, while the S&P 500 and the Dow Industrials were just shy of the record closing highs from Monday.

President Donald Trump further fanned hopes of a trade truce over the weekend by saying the two sides would sign a Phase-1 deal “very shortly”.

“The mood's a little choppier today than in recent days, but the recent rally has been pretty fast and furious,” said Mark Heppenstall at Penn Mutual Asset Management in Horsham, Pennsylvania. “The markets are probably just taking a bit of a breather.”

The benchmark S&P 500 index is set for its best year since 2013, in sharp contrast to the same period last year when the market was at the tail end of a severe swoon that saw the index come close to confirming a bear market. “There's a little bit of a panic buying in the markets, which is the exact opposite of what was happening at this point last year,” said Heppenstall.

At 11:11 AM (local time), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 19.94 points, or 0.07 per cent, at 28,531.59, the S&P 500 was down 0.36 points, or 0.01 per cent, at 3,223.65. The Nasdaq Composite was up 3.54 points, or 0.04 per cent, at 8,949.19.

Volumes are expected to be thin this week as traders settle in for the holidays. The main US stock exchanges will close at 1 PM (local time) on Tuesday and remain shut on Wednesday. Four of the 11 major S&P sectors were in the red, with losses in industrials shares weighing the most.

Among stocks, Uber Technologies Inc edged higher after the company said founder and former Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick will resign from the board by the end of the year.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.32-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.17-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 16 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 61 new highs and 21 new lows.

Published on December 25, 2019
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