U.S. stocks booked slight gains Wednesday, with major indexes halting a two-day skid, although trading activity was subdued as investors found few fresh catalysts in what is typically one of the lowest-volume weeks of the year.
Stocks are on track to close out December with yet another positive month—possibly marking the first time global stocks have risen in every month of a calendar year—as well as strong gains for 2017 overall.
What did stock indexes do?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.11% rose 28.09 points, or 0.1%, to 24,774.30. The S&P 500 index SPX, +0.08% added 2.12 points, or 0.1%, to 2,682.62. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.04% advanced 3.09 points, or less than 0.1%, at 6,939.34.
Seven of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ended in positive territory on the day. Real-estate stocks rose 0.4%, as did utilities, while industrial names were up 0.3%. Energy shares fell 0.3% alongside a 0.7% drop in the price of crude oil.
What’s driving the markets?
Markets both in Europe and the U.S. traded in tight ranges, with investors likely to remain on vacation until after the New Year’s holiday on Monday. Last week, stocks rallied to records after the Republicans passed the most sweeping overhaul of the U.S. tax code in 30 years as well as a stopgap spending bill to keep the government funded into early 2018.
In the latest economic data, a read on consumer confidence fell to 122.1 in December, down from the previous reading of 128.6. For 2017 overall, however, confidence was at its highest level since 2000.
Separately, pending-home sales ticked up 0.2% in November.
What are analysts saying?
“There’s not much happening today, but the quiet action tells a really important story: it tells you the bulls remain in control, that sellers are few and far between, and that we’re waiting for the next big catalyst, which will probably be earnings,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of 50 Park Investments.
“Otherwise, we’re seeing the market digest a very strong 2017 rally. It is perfectly normal and healthy to see the market pause after a huge rally, and the absence of selling in and of itself is very healthy,” he said.
Activity remained light, and Tuesday was the lowest-volume full-day session of 2017. Overall, volumes in 2017 have been anemic, with average daily trading throughout the year coming in at a three-year low.
Which stocks are in focus?
Celgene Corp. CELG, -2.35% was downgraded to market perform by analysts at Bernstein. Its shares lost 2.4%.
Tesla Inc. TSLA, -1.78% lost 1.8% after KeyBanc lowered its delivery estimates for the electric-car maker’s Model 3 line in the fourth quarter.
Shares of Boeing Co. BA, +0.09% rose 0.1% after the plane manufacturer said Morocco’s Royal Air Maroc has ordered four Dreamliners valued at $ 1.1 billion at list prices.
Apple Inc. AAPL, +0.02% is being sued for slowing down older iPhone models without warning to compensate for poor battery performance. The stock, however, ended the session little changed.
Shares of Pareteum Corp. TEUM, -10.71% fell 11%, retreating after a 120% rally from Tuesday, when the provider of telecom software and systems said it has “completed development enabling it to add support of Blockchain technology to its billing and settlement services.”
Among energy companies, Marathon Oil MRO, -1.45% fell 1.5%, while Hess Corp. HES, -0.66% was down 0.7%.
What are other markets doing?
Stocks in Asia closed mixed, while European benchmarks SXXP, +0.07% ended higher.
Oil prices dropped, with West Texas Intermediate CLG8, +0.22% declining from its highest settlement since June 2015 to settle slower lower on Wednesday.
Metals were mostly higher, with gold GCG8, +0.29% finishing up 0.3% at $ 1,291.40 an ounce.
The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.25% was down 0.2% at 93.02.