The three major U.S. stock indexes closed higher on Wednesday. Gains in real estate and utilities were able to overcome weakness in the energy and telecommunications sectors. Trading volume was the second-lowest of the year with only Black Friday’s half-day of trading posting lower volume.
In the cash market, the benchmark S&P 500 Index settled at 2682.62, up 2.12 or +0.08%. The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average finish at 24774.30, up 28.09 or +0.11% and the tech-based NASDAQ Composite closed the session at 6937.94, up 1.69 or +0.02%.
The thin trading conditions led to weaker closes in the futures market. March E-mini S&P 500 Index futures settled at 2685.50, down 1.50 or -0.06%. March E-mini Dow Jones Industrial Average futures finished at 24788, down 4.00 or -0.02% and March E-mini NASDAQ-100 Index futures closed at 6454.00, down 6.00 or -0.09%.
U.S. equity indexes are trading slightly higher early Thursday. Volume remains suspect so investors shouldn’t read too much into the price action. Rising Japanese Yen and gold prices suggest money is leaving higher risk assets like stocks. This may put pressure on the indexes later in the day.
At 1121 GMT, March E-mini S&P 500 Index futures are trading 2688.00, up 2.50 or +0.09%. March E-mini Dow Jones Industrial Average futures are at 24832, up 44 or +0.18% and March E-mini NASDAQ-100 Index futures are at 6469.75, up 15.75 or +0.24%.
Rising crude oil and copper prices helped support markets in Asia. However, the trade was thin ahead of the long New Year’s weekend. Stocks in Japan were supported by strong retail sales and industrial output for November.
European markets were lower amid a light holiday-week of trade.
On the economic front, gold traders will get a chance to react to U.S. reports on Weekly Unemployment Claims, the Goods Trade Balance, Preliminary Wholesale Inventories and Chicago PMI.
In other news, Apple and Amazon are reportedly in licensing talks with Riyadh, Saudi Arabia according to Reuters.