US stock index futures were higher in overnight trading on the Wednesday leading up to the last trading day of the week with shortened holidays.
The futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 44 points. S&P 500 futures rose 0.09% while Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.02%.
The S&P 500 ended Wednesday’s session barely changed – rising less than 0.1% – after slipping in the final minutes of trading. Even so, the benchmark index suffered a three-day streak of bad luck. The Dow gained 114.32 points, or 0.38%, after rising more than 270 points at one point during the session. The Nasdaq Composite hit a record high before wiping out those gains and closing 0.29% lower.
“It was sold in the index-dominating tech names that weighed on the SPX, not in the general market weakness,” Vital Knowledge’s Adam Crisafulli said in a note. Netflix and Microsoft were among the declining tech names, falling 2.4% and 1.3% respectively.
The late-day decline came as investors took profits late in the year and President Donald Trump vetoed a comprehensive defense bill. The move came after calling the US $ 900 billion congressional month-long Covid aid package an unsuitable “disgrace”. The president looked particularly at direct payments, which were to be increased from $ 600 to $ 2,000.
Democrats will attempt to make $ 2,000 direct payments Thursday, but Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Will object, CNBC reported. Meanwhile, McCarthy plans to offer a new temporary spending bill that will separate State Department funding and foreign aid from the wider spending package – a plan Democrats would likely oppose.
The main averages were mixed until the last day of the shortened vacation week. The Nasdaq is well on its way to end the week higher while the Dow and S&P 500 are slightly lower for the week. The Russell 2,000, which hit a new intraday and all-time high on Wednesday, is also higher for the week. Amid the strength of the small-cap names, the index is on its way to its eighth straight week of earnings – the longest weekly earnings streak since February 2019.
With only 4.5 trading days a year left, the Nasdaq is well on its way to becoming the clear winner, which is currently up around 42%. The Russell 2,000 is up 20% over the year while the Dow and S&P 500 are up 5.6% and 14.2%, respectively.
In terms of data, US jobless claims for the week ended December 19 were 803,000, better than an estimate of 888,000, according to economists polled by Dow Jones. However, both core durable goods and personal income fell below expectations in November.
The market closes early on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. ET and closes on Friday for Christmas.
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