Stock futures were little changed on Friday as Wall Street looked to end a winning year on a high note and possibly a new milestone. S&P 500 futures was flat, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures ticked dow 16 points. Nasdaq-100 futures inched slightly lower. The S&P 500 enters the final trading day of 2023 less than 0.5% from a new record high, which could serve as an exclamation point on a rally that has gained strength in the final months of the year. The S&P 500 is up 24.6% in 2023, with Dow rising 13.8%. The Nasdaq Composite has led the way with a gain of 44.2% on the year — on pace for its biggest annual increase since 2003. All the major averages are also on track to notch their ninth consecutive winning weeks, with the S&P up 0.6%. That would mark its longest stretch of weekly gains since 2004. The Dow and Nasdaq are up 0.9% and 0.7%, respectively, and on pace to clinch their longest weekly winning streaks since 2019. The story for much of 2023 was the excitement around artificial intelligence fueling big gains for the “Magnificent 7” stocks like Nvidia and Microsoft, which bolstered the indexes even as the average stock struggled amid rising interest rates and fueled the outperformance of the tech-heavy Nasdaq. But with the Federal Reserve signaling it is likely done with rate hikes and could even cut rates multiple times next year, the 10-year Treasury yield dove from above 5% in late October to less than 3.9% on Thursday. Investors have also grown more confident in a possible “soft landing” where the U.S. economy avoids a recession. As a result, the market rally has broadened out in the fourth quarter, with the industrial-heavy Dow already making a string of record highs this month. The small-cap Russell 2000 is up almost 14% in December, on track for its best month since November 2020. Ryan Detrick, Carson Group chief market strategist, pointed out on Thursday’s “Closing Bell” that gains of 10% or more in final two months of a year is historically a signal that there is more room to run for stocks. “A big end of year rally like this is not consistent with the end of a bull market. It usually means that upward momentum, that slingshot, is going to continue,” Detrick said. U.S. Treasury yields were higher on Friday as investor attention remained focused on the path ahead for the economy and monetary policy. The yield on the 10-year Treasury was up over 3 basis points at 3.881%. The 2-year Treasury yield was last around 2 basis points higher at 4.297%. Asia-Pacific markets fell on the last trading day of 2023, with China stocks being the sole exception as the country’s tech companies continued their advance. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dipped 0.20%, while China’s CSI 300 index closed 0.49% higher at 3,431.11. China and Hong Kong indexes rallied more than 2% each in the previous session, but were still set to be the biggest percentage losers for the year among major Asia-Pacific markets. China’s CSI 300 index is down 11.8% for the year, while the Hang Seng has plunged 14% in 2023. Japan’s Nikkei 225, which ended down 0.22% at 33,464.17, wrapped up the year with gains of over 28%, making it Asia’s top-performing market. The broader Topix closed 0.19% higher at 2,366.39, having surged over 25% in 2023. South Korea markets were shut on Friday, with the Kospi up 18.7% for the year and the Kosdaq clocking 27.5% in gains. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.31% lower at 7,590.80, cooling off from two straight sessions of gains, but was still up 7.84% for the year. Oil prices are set to end 2023 about 10% lower, the first annual decline in two years, after geopolitical concerns, production cuts and global measures to rein in inflation triggered wild fluctuations in prices. Brent crude futures were up 44 cents, or 0.6%, at $77.59 a barrel on Friday, the last trading day of 2023, while the U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were trading 27 cents, or 0.4% higher, at $72.04. Gold prices gained on Friday but were still headed for their best year in three, supported by expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve could begin easing its monetary policy as early as March next year. Spot gold fell 0.07% to $2,063.40 per ounce. U.S. gold futures lost 0.45% to $2,074.1 per ounce. Bullion has risen about 14% so far this year, heading for its biggest annual gain since 2020 after prices surged to an all-time high of $2,135.40 on Dec. 4.