Stock market today: Wall Street aims for gains to close 2023 in subdued holiday trading

Wall Street aimed for a winning week to close out the year in subdued holiday trading Wednesday.

Futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average each edged less than 0.1% lower before the bell, but markets so far are holding on to gains for the week with little in the way of new economic data or corporate earnings.

On Tuesday the S&P 500 rose 0.4% to 4,774.75, finishing less than 0.5% below its all-time high set nearly two years ago. The benchmark index is coming off eight straight weekly gains, its longest winning streak since 2017.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4% to 37,545.33, while the Nasdaq composite ended 0.5% higher to 15,074.57.

Trading was relatively light as U.S. markets reopened following the Christmas Day holiday. Still, the latest gains were widespread, with advancers outnumbering decliners by nearly 3 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange.

With just three trading days to go in 2024, the S&P 500 is now up more than 24% for the year, while the Nasdaq is up 44%.

Investors have been encouraged by reports showing inflation is on the decline even as the economy appears stronger than expected.

The Federal Reserve is walking a tightrope, seeking to slow the economy enough through elevated interest rates to cool inflation, but not so much that it tips the nation into recession.

In Europe at midday, markets were steady in the first trading day after the holiday. Germany’s DAX and Paris's CAC 40 each gained 0.3%, while Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.6%.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index added 1.2% to 33,681.24 as details of a policy meeting by the Bank of Japan showed officials divided about the timing and need to shift away from the central bank’s longstanding lax monetary policy.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 1.8% to 16,627.00 and the Shanghai Composite gained 0.5% to 2,914.61 with Chinese video gaming companies, including Tencent and NetEase, recouping losses in the first Hong Kong trading session after the government attempted to alleviate market fears about draft guidelines to impose controls over how companies earn money from games. However, the gains were dwarfed by the losses from a broad sell-off on Friday.

NetEase's Hong Kong-traded shares gained 11.9%, after its Nasdaq-listed stock added 5.2% on Tuesday. Tencent's were up 4.0% in Hong Kong and Bilibili added 6.7%.

The Kospi in Seoul was up 0.4% to 2,613.50. In Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.8% higher at 7,561.20.

Bangkok’s SET dropped less than 0.1% and the Sensex in Mumbai climbed 0.5%.

In other trading early Wednesday, U.S. benchmark crude oil fell $1.33 to $74.24 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, slid $1.18 to $79.67 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar rose to 142.60 Japanese yen from 142.38 yen. The euro rose to $1.1066 from $1.1044.


A person stands in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2023, in Tokyo. Asian shares mostly advanced on Wednesday following Wall Street gains as markets there reopened for what’s expected to be a quiet, holiday-shortened week of trading. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
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