Stock-index futures edged higher Monday ahead of the next-to-last session of a blockbuster year for equities.
How are the major benchmarks faring?
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMH20, +0.06% were up 26 points, or 0.1%, at 28,629, while S&P 500 futures ESH20, +0.10% edged up 3.9 points, or 0.1%, to 3,241.5. Nasdaq-100 futures were 7.25 points, or 0.1%, higher at 8,790.5. Futures on all three indexes have flipped between small gains and losses.
The Dow DJIA, -0.31% and S&P 500 SPX, -0.34% each closed at records on Friday. The Dow squeaked out a gain of 23.87 points, or 0.1%, to end at 28,645.26, while the S&P 500 crept higher by 0.11 point to end at 3,240.02. The Nasdaq Composite COMP, -0.54% gave up 15.77 points Friday to end at 9,006.62, a loss of 0.2%. All three major indexes scored gains for the holiday-shortened week, with the Dow rising 0.7%, the S&P 500 advancing 0.6% and the Nasdaq Composite up 0.9%.
That’s left the Dow on track for a 2019 gain of 22.8%, while the S&P 500 is up 29.3% so far this year. The Nasdaq Composite has gained 35.7% in the year to date.
See: Here’s how the Dow and S&P 500 perform in years after they ring up gains of 20%
What’s driving the market?
Analysts said stocks remained buoyant on expectations U.S.-China trade tensions would stay subdued after the two sides earlier this month announced an agreement on a “phase-one” deal that aimed to resolve less controversial aspects of a long-running battle.
Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He is set to travel to Washington Saturday, where he is expected to sign the limited trade deal agreed to earlier this month with the Trump administration, the South China Morning Post reported Monday. The deal will reportedly roll back some tariffs on Chinese imports and involve commitments to purchase more U.S. agricultural goods, while increasing market access for U.S. firms.
“Futures, heading into the penultimate trading day of the year [are] pretty much flat as a pancake, although there has been a slight boost following news that a Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Liu will travel to DC this week to finally sign the phase-one trade deal,” wrote Paul Hickey of Bespoke Investment Group in a Monday note to clients.
Meanwhile, trading conditions remain thin in another holiday-shortened week, with markets in the U.S. and much of the world set to be closed on Wednesday for the New Year’s Day holiday.
“With many investors still in holiday mode, global stocks continued to hover near their 2019 highs. Easing trade worries and less Brexit uncertainty were the two key components of December’s equity rally and investors are continuing to enjoy some festive cheer in the final trading days of the year,” said Hussen Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM, in a note.
Global financial markets showed little lasting reaction to U.S. military strikes in Iraq and Syria over the weekend. U.S. forces conducted “precision defensive strikes” against five sites controlled by Kataeb Hezbollah, or Hezbollah Brigades, an Iran-backed Iraqi militia, a Defense Department spokesman said Sunday. The U.S. has blamed the militia for a rocket barrage on Friday that killed a U.S. defense contractor at a military compound near Kirkuk, in northern Iraq.
The economic calendar features November trade data at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, with a reading of the Chicago-area purchasing managers index for December due at 9:45 a.m. Figures on November pending home sales are set for release at 10 a.m.
What stocks are in focus?
Tesla Inc. TSLA, -3.82% made its first deliveries of cars built in China on Monday, the company announced in a tweet. Shares were up 0.1% in premarket action, and the company’s stock has risen 30.4% month-to-date.
Shares of Myriad Genetics Inc. MYGN, +0.65% rallied 6.4% in premarket trade after the diagnostics company said its BRACAnalysis CDx product was approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Facebook Inc. FB, -1.24% shares could be in focus after Salesforce.com CRM, -1.17% founder and co-chief executive sharply criticized the company during a Sunday interview with CNN. He said Facebook was a culprit of society’s “crisis of trust” as a result of their unwillingness to truth in political advertisements, and that “Facebook is the new cigarettes for our society. It’s something that badly needs to be regulated.” Facebook shares were down 0.1% before the start of trade Monday.
How are other markets trading?
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y, +2.29% rose 6.5 basis points to 1.931%, after slumping to its lowest level in three weeks Friday.
Oil prices were edging higher, with the price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil for February delivery CLG20, +0.68% up 35 cents, or 0.6%, to $62.08. Gold was edging lower, meanwhile, as the price of an ounce of gold for December delivery GCG20, -0.06% lost $3.50, or 0.2%, to $1514.50.
The value of the U.S. dollar ticked 0.1% lower, according to the ICE U.S. Dollar index DXY, -0.17%.
In Europe, stocks were trading mostly lower, as reflected by the Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, -0.31%.
In Asia overnight, shares traded mixed, with the China CSI 300 000300, +1.48% rising 1.6%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, +0.33% gaining 0.3%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.8%.