Tuesday December 31st


Stock set to open little changed, but S&P 500 heads for annual gain of nearly 30%

U.S. stock index futures edged lower on Tuesday as Wall Street wrapped up a banner year that saw equities surge to record highs. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were down 10 points as of 7:29 a.m. ET. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures also dropped marginally. Futures dipped after President Donald Trump tweeted Iran was responsible for an attack on the U.S. embassy in Iraq.  Earlier in the day, they pointed to slight gains at the open. Tuesday’s dip comes after the market’s worst day since early December. The Dow dropped 183 points, or 0.6% on Monday. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq pulled back 0.5% and 0.6%, respectively. Still, the major averages remained on track for strong annual gains. The S&P 500 entered Tuesday’s session up 28.5% for 2019, on pace for its biggest one-year gain since 2013, when it rallied 29.6%. The broad index was also within striking distance of its 1997 surge of 31%. “We climbed a wall of worry, from a growth slowdown and profits flat at best, trade concerns, potential impeachment, and high valuations bothering investors — including myself,” said Ned Davis, founder of Ned Davis Research, in a note. Apple and Microsoft led the way higher for stocks in 2019, rallying 84.4% and 55.2%, respectively. They are the best-performing Dow stocks of the year and accounted for about 15% of the S&P 500′s overall gains for 2019. Chinese stocks were higher on the final trading day of 2019, with other major markets in Asia either on holiday or seeing an early close. The Shanghai composite edged 0.33% higher to about 3,050.12 while the Shenzhen component added 0.63% to 10,430.77. The Shenzhen composite also rose 0.551% to approximately 1,722.95. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index declined 0.46% to close early at 28,189.75. Oil alternated between gains and losses on Monday before ultimately closing lower, as optimism over an expected China-U.S. trade deal and upbeat industrial data wasn’t enough to push prices higher. West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 4 cents to settle at $61.88 per barrel. Brent crude futures gained 28 cents to settle at $68.44 per barrel. During the session, Brent reached $68.99 a barrel, while WTI hit $62.34 a barrel, both the highest since Sept. 17. For the year, Brent has risen around 27% in 2019, and the U.S. benchmark is up about 36%. Gold prices gained on Monday as global economic growth concerns kept prices propped above $1,500 an ounce and expectations of a U.S.-China trade deal reduced safe-haven buying of the weakening dollar. Spot gold rose 0.3% to $1,515.42 per ounce. In the previous week, marking their best week since early August. U.S. gold futures were unchanged at $1,518.40 per ounce.