U.S. stock futures rose slightly on Tuesday to start the last week of the year, as traders tried to end 2023 on a strong note. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 20 points. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq-100 futures gained 0.1% and 0.2%, respectively. Intel rose more than 2% before the bell after Israel’s government gave the chipmaker a $3.2 billion grant for a $25 billion plant in the country’s south. Manchester United added 1.7% after British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe finalized a deal to buy a quarter of the soccer club. U.S. markets were closed Monday due to the Christmas holiday. Wall Street is coming into the holiday shortened week with momentum after the S&P 500 last week registered its eighth straight weekly advance, its longest streak since 2017. The Dow and Nasdaq Composite also notched an eight-week winning streak. The S&P 500 also came into Tuesday’s session within striking distance of record levels. The broad market index is just 0.9% below its closing all-time high of 4,796.56 set in January 2022. It’s also 1.3% away from its intraday record. Those moves come as investors cheer recent data showing inflation is moving closer toward the Federal Reserve’s 2% target. Expectations of potential rate cuts have also lifted equities in recent weeks. Tom Lee, head of research at Fundstrat, noted that the November PCE deflator report, released Friday, showed “that inflation is falling like a rock.” “The overall story of inflation is consistent with our thesis and this is supportive of stocks. After all, if the Fed starts to worry about deflation (not the case at the moment), then Fed wants to reverse it stance,” Lee said in a note last week. Treasury yields were slightly lower Tuesday as the last week of the year got under way. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note dipped 3 basis points to 4.188%. The 2-year note yield was down down marginally at 4.337%. Tuesday’s moves come after traders received encouraging U.S. inflation data last week. Japan and South Korea markets started the last trading week of 2023 on a positive note with the Nikkei 225 all set to emerge as the region’s top performer this year, but China stocks continued to slide. Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong markets were closed for Boxing Day holiday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.16% to close at 33,305.85. It has gained more than 27% so far this year. The broader Topix climbed marginally to end at 2,338.86. China’s CSI 300 index closed 0.68% lower at 3,324.79, dragged down by declines in technology and real estate stocks. The index has lost over 14% this year. South Korea’s Kospi climbed 0.12% to 2,602.59, while the small-cap Kosdaq fell 0.73% to close at 848.34. The Topix has gained 23.5% so far this year, while the Kospi has advanced 16.2%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index has been the worst performer of 2023, down about 17.4%. Oil steadied on Tuesday, finding support from geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and investor optimism that the U.S. Federal Reserve would soon start cutting interest rates, boosting global economic growth and fuel demand. While hopes of rate cuts and conflict in the Red Sea have led to a rebound in crude prices, Maersk’s announcement of a restart of shipping routes through the waterway has alleviated supply concerns to a certain extent, said CMC Market analyst Leon Li. Brent crude futures slipped 7 cents, or 0.1%, to $79.00 a barrel by 1030 GMT while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 28 cents, or 0.4%, to $73.28. Gold prices rose on Tuesday, helped by a weaker U.S. dollar and lower Treasury yields on expectations that the Federal Reserve will lower interest rates next year. Spot gold was up 0.4% at $2,062.63 an ounce near 7:30 a.m. ET after hitting a more than two-week high of $2,070.39 in the previous session. U.S. gold futures rose 0.2% to $2,073.20.