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Stock Futures Turn Flat, Bitcoin Swings Wild as Markets Close Out Record Year

Stock futures suggested a mixed start to what is likely to be the one of the final active trading days of the year Friday as investors put the finishing touches on a record year for U.S. and global equities.

U.S. equity futures were higher earlier in the session but flattened and contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 6 points, or 0.02%, and those tied to the broader S&P 500 gained less than a point after lawmakers agreed terms of a spending bill that will avert a near-government shutdown following the passage of the $ 1.5 trillion Republican tax reform bill earlier this week.

The bill, which passed the House with a vote of 231-188 and the Senate with a count of 66-32, will keep the government running until Jan. 19, or until an “omnibus” spending bill can be agreed that will cover the U.S. fiscal year which ends in September.

Nike Inc. (NKE) shares fell in premarket trading Friday after the world’s biggest sports shoe maker forecast slowing sales growth over the holiday quarter as it continues to lose market share in its key North American market to rival Adidas AG (ADDYY) .

Nike shares dropped 3.8% in premarket trading in New York, suggesting an opening bell price for the Dow component of $ 62.30.

Eric Schmidt will step down from his role as executive chairman of Alphabet Inc.’s  (GOOGL) board.

Shares of Alphabet, the parent of Google, were inactive in premarket trading on Friday.

John Schnatter, founder and CEO of Papa John’s International Inc. (PZZA) , resigned from his position effective Jan. 1, following controversial statements he made last month criticizing the National Football League’s handling of players kneeling during the national anthem. The stock rose slightly in after-hours trading on Thursday.

Durable goods orders in the U.S. rose 1.3% in November, below economists’ estimates that called for an increase of 2.0%. Excluding transportation, orders declined 0.1%.

Consumer spending rose 0.6% in November, while the savings rate in the U.S. fell to 2.9%, the lowest since 2007.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yields slipped to around 2.486%, while 2-year note yields held at around 1.891%. 

Overnight in Asia, a weaker U.S. dollar index, which fell to 93.35 against a basket of six global currencies, lifted regional stocks and held down gains for equity benchmarks across the board, although both the Nikkei 225 in Japan, up 0.2%, and the MSCI Asia ex-Japan, up 0.06%, managed to end their trading sessions in positive territory.

European stocks fell as investors reacted to a surprise win for separatists in Catalonia’s regional election late Thursday night and adjusted positions for a softer U.S. dollar.

Bitcoin prices continued their three-day decline, falling below the $ 13,000 mark in early European trading on bitstamp to change hands at $ 12,520, a figure that puts the peak-to-trough decline for the digital currency at around 36% this week, before recovering to around $ 12,806.

Cboe futures were marked at $ 12,850 in heavy volume, while CME Group futures for January settlement were seen at $ 12,825.

Global oil prices weakened modestly in overnight Asia trading, taking Brent crude prices from near two-and-a-half year highs, although the continued shutdown of the Forties Pipeline System, which shifts around 450,000 barrels of oil from the North Sea each day, continues to support prices.

Brent contracts fell 1.3% to $ 64.09 a barrel while West Texas Intermediate crude contracts were 0.6% lower at $ 58.01.

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