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  • Modest gains for US stocks
  • December 29,2017  12:29
  • US stocks ended with modest gains on Thursday, 28 December 2017. It was a literal grind for the major indices on Thursday, which held to extremely tight trading ranges throughout the day, clinging to modest gains that got extended slightly in the final hour of trading.

    The Dow rose 62.21 points, or 0.3%, to 24,837.51. The Nasdaq Composite Index ended trading up 10.82 points, or 0.2%, at 6,950.16. The S&P 500 index advanced 4.92 points, or 0.2%, to 2,687.54, with only consumer staples ending in negative territory, down 0.2%, of the S&P 500's 11 sectors. Financials, led the way higher.

    Dow was led by a rally in shares of UnitedHealth Group and a rise in shares of Caterpillar. The finish at an all-time high marks the blue-chip average's first record adding to its record-setting tally of all-time peaks in a calendar year.

    There wasn't much trading excitement in the stock market because there was a dearth of market-moving news, as well as a dearth of participants. For the third day running, extremely light trading volume reflected the fact that many market participants have checked out until the new year.

    Among stocks under focus, Apple rose 0.3%, attempting to rebound for the week after worries about sales of its iPhone X and reports of lawsuits against the tech giant dragged the company's stock lower.

    Among economic data expected for the day, the purchasing managers index for Chicago showed a rise of 67.6 in December from 63.9 in the previous month, compared with expectations for 62. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion. Also, initial U.S. jobless claims, a tool to measure layoffs, were unchanged at 245,000 last week. Market had forecast claims to total 239,000. Meanwhile, the U.S. deficit in goods increased 2.3% in November to $69.7 billion.

    The dollar slipped to its lowest level in about three months as the ICE U.S on Thursday. Dollar Index lost 0.5% on Thursday to 92.58, representing its lowest level since late September. The index measures the buck against a basket of a half-dozen rivals. A weaker dollar tends to provide a boost to dollar-pegged commodities, making them more attractive to users of weaker monetary units.

    Bullion prices ended higher at Comex on Thursday, 28 December 2017 at Comex. Gold futures settled higher for a sixth straight session on Thursday, pushing prices for the yellow metal to the highest finish in about 10 weeks as the U.S. dollar extended a streak of weakness with one day of trading left in 2017.

    February gold, the most active contract on Comex, rose $5.80, or 0.5%, to close at $1,297.20 an ounce. March silver jumped 16.7 cents, or 1%, to end at $16.923 an ounce.

    Crude-oil prices finished with modest gains in an up-and-down session, on Thursday, 28 December 2017 as market participants grew optimistic about inventory reports that point to a steady decline in U.S. crude stocks.

    February West Texas Intermediate oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 20 cents, or 0.3%, at $59.84 a barrel. February Brent added 28 cents, or 0.4%, to $66.72 a barrel., marking the second-highest close of 2017.

    The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that domestic-crude supplies fell by 4.6 million barrels for the week ended Dec. 22, compared with a 6-million-barrel drawdown reported by the American Petroleum Institute late Wednesday. Markets had been anticipating a decline in crude oil of about 3.7 million barrels. EIA also showed that gasoline stockpiles increased by about 590.000 barrels on the week, while distillate products rose by 1.1 million barrels. And crude supplies at a key energy hub at Cushing, Oklahoma fell by 1.6 million barrels, according to the report.

    Falling U.S. bond yields also were cited as a reason for dollar weakness and gold strength on Thursday. The yield for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note logged its biggest one-day drop in more than three months on Wednesday, and although yields stabilized on Thursday, they remained at risk for another move lower.

    There is no economic data of note scheduled for release on Friday.

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