Friday December 20th


Stocks set to rise as S&P 500 notches fourth consecutive weekly gain

U.S. stock index futures rose on Friday as investors wrapped up another solid week of gains. At around 7:20 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures indicated a gain of 32 points at the open. Futures on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 also pointed to slight gains. Wall Street stocks rose to all-time highs in the previous session, as investors appeared to shrug off mixed economic data as well as news of President Donald Trump’s impeachment by the House. Sentiment received a boost when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that he had no doubt trade negotiators representing the U.S. and China would sign their so-called “phase one” trade deal in early January. Those gains put the S&P 500 on track for its fourth straight weekly gain. Entering Friday’s session, the broad index was up 1.2% week to date. The Dow and Nasdaq were up 0.9% and 1.7%, respectively, for the week. Wall Street’s strong performance this week comes after the U.S. and China reached a phase one trade deal on Dec. 13. Striking that deal temporarily removed the biggest headwind facing the market for most of 2019.  On the data front, third-quarter real GDP (gross domestic product) figures will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. Personal income and consumer spending for November, core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) for November, and the latest Kansas City Federal Reserve survey will all be released as well. Major Asia stocks declined by the close on Friday, as U.S. markets broke a new record, with positive news on the trade front further boosting sentiment. Mainland Chinese stocks were little changed in the afternoon. The Shanghai composite fell 0.40% to close at 3,004.94, while the Shenzhen component declined 0.65% to 10,229.49. The Shenzhen composite tumbled 0.70% to 1,700.99. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was flat in its last hour of trading. Japan’s Nikkei 225 followed the downward trend, dipping 0.20% to close at 23,816.63, and the Topix index edged down 0.18% to 1,733.07. In South Korea, the Kospi bucked the regional trend, rising 0.35% to 2,204.18. Oil prices were set for a third straight weekly gain despite a Friday fall after easing U.S.-China trade tensions lifted business confidence and the outlook for global economic growth. Brent was down 30 cents at $66.24 a barrel, equivalent to a weekly rise of around 1.6%, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was down 29 cents at $60.89 per barrel, a gain of around 1.4% on the week. Gold inched lower on Friday as demand for riskier assets improved on optimism that the bitter U.S.-China trade war will be resolved soon, while investors awaited U.S. GDP data for more cues on the health of the economy. Spot gold fell 0.1% to $1,477.28 per ounce as of 1036 GMT. U.S. gold futures were down 0.2% to $1,481.10 per ounce.