Wall Steet set to open higher on final trading day of 2017

Wall Steet set to open higher on final trading day of 2017

2017-12-29 14:07:05

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks were poised to open on a bright note on the final trading day of 2017, wrapping up a year in which major Wall Street indexes recorded their best performance since 2013.

Strengthening global economy, solid corporate earnings and low interest rates have helped the benchmark S&P 500 lock in 20 percent gains for the year, while feeding into a nine-year old rally in global stocks.

The market has shown surprising strength despite tensions in North Korea and political upheavals in Washington. The S&P 500 has closed below 1 percent only four times this year.

The rally is widely expected to extend into 2018, boosted by gains from a new law that lowers the tax burden on U.S. corporations.

“If you asked any of us on Jan. 1 what would happen with the market if none of those policies went through, then we would would’ve expected a poor performance. Surprisingly, the earnings picture also came to the upside,” said Luke Tilley, chief economist at Wilmington Trust in Wilmington, Delaware.

“We’re not very optimistic that we’ll have another year like we did in 2017, not that valuations portend a major catastrophe.”

The S&P technology index .SPLRCT has been the best performing sector, rising about 37 percent and outpacing gains in the broader index.

Telecom services .SPLRCL and energy .SPNY are the only two sectors to end the year lower among the major 11 S&P indexes.

At 8:24 a.m. ET (1324 GMT), Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were up 75 points, or 0.3 percent, with 13,931 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 were up 9.5 points, or 0.35 percent, with 95,614 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were up 19 points, or 0.29 percent, on volume of 17,659 contracts.

Volumes will remain thin due to the holiday week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Amazon (AMZN.O) slipped 0.3 percent after President Donald Trump targeted the online retailer in a call for the country’s postal service to raise prices of shipments in order to recoup costs.

Goldman Sachs (GS.N) also slipped after the bank said its fourth-quarter earnings would take a $5-billion hit due to the new tax law, and mostly due to repatriation tax.

Oil prices hit their highest since mid-2015 as an unexpected fall in American output and a drop in commercial crude inventories stoked buying. [O/R]

Schlumberger (SLB.N) edged up 0.8 percent in premarket trading, while Exxon (XOM.N) and Chevron (CVX.N) were up 0.3 percent.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva

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