U.S. Stocks Return to Positive Territory as Tech Snaps Five-Day Skid
U.S. stocks rose slightly on Wednesday, as technology companies snapped a five-day losing streak in a session marked by thinner than usual trade volumes.
Most Sectors Finish Higher
Seven of the S&P 500’s 11 main sectors recorded gains on Wednesday, propelling the large-cap index to gains of 0.1%. The benchmark average finished at 2,682.62, partially offsetting back-to-back declines.
Technology stocks added 0.2%, ending their longest losing streak since April. The sector was buoyed Microsoft Corp (MSFT) and Facebook Inc. (FB), which added 0.4% and 0.9%, respectively.
Positive contributions also came from utilities, a sector usually known for being a defensive play. Utilities stocks finished 0.4%. higher. Healthcare, industrials and materials also contributed to the gains on Wednesday.
Housing stocks also edged higher after data showed an unexpected increase in pending home sales. The National Association of Realtor’s pending home sales index rose 0.2% in November, following a gain of 3.5% the previous month. Analysts in a median estimate called for a half percent decline.
On the opposite side of the ledger, energy shares fell 0.3% as oil prices eased off two-and-a-half-year highs. Energy stocks have been on a tear as of late, returning 7.4% over the past month compared with the S&P 500’s 3% gain.
Elsewhere on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 28.09 points, or 0.1%, to finish at 24,774.30. Meanwhile, the technology-driven Nasdaq Composite Index finished relatively flat at 6,939.34.
The long-studied ‘Santa Claus rally’ appears to have eluded Wall Street this year – at least, based on the first two sessions of the week. Seasonal influences around this time of year normally produce healthy gains for the benchmark indexes. Muted gains partially reflect lower trading volumes ahead of the new year. They also indicate that the so-called Trump rally is running out of steam.
Even without the Santa Claus rally, Wall Street is poised for a resounding year of gains, with the major indexes returning between 18% and 26% since Jan. 1.
With tax reform out of the way, the Trump administration is said to be eyeing its next legislative battle: infrastructure spending. While campaigning, Trump promised to implement a trillion-dollar spending bill designed to boost America’s transportation infrastructure.
The Trump administration is also eyeing deregulation of the finance and energy industries. That process already began earlier this year when the president ordered a formal review of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which was the Obama administration’s principal response to the subprime mortgage crisis.
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