Wall St. idle near record levels in Christmas Eve trade

(Reuters) – Wall Street hovered near record highs on Tuesday ahead of Christmas break as investors paused after a rally that was fueled by improving U.S.-China trade relations and optimism about the health of the domestic economy.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 17, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

The Nasdaq hit an all-time high, while the S&P 500 and the Dow Industrials were just shy of the record closing highs from Monday.

President Donald Trump further fanned hopes of a trade truce over the weekend by saying the two sides would sign a Phase 1 deal “very shortly”.

“The mood’s a little choppier today than in recent days, but the recent rally has been pretty fast and furious,” said Mark Heppenstall at Penn Mutual Asset Management in Horsham, Pennsylvania.

“The markets are probably just taking a bit of a breather.”

The benchmark S&P 500 index is set for its best year since 2013, in sharp contrast to the same period last year when the market was at the tail end of a severe swoon that saw the index come close to confirming a bear market.

“There’s a little bit of a panic buying in the markets, which is the exact opposite of what was happening at this point last year,” said Heppenstall.

At 11:11 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 19.94 points, or 0.07%, at 28,531.59, the S&P 500 was down 0.36 points, or 0.01%, at 3,223.65. The Nasdaq Composite was up 3.54 points, or 0.04%, at 8,949.19.

Volumes are expected to be thin this week as traders settle in for the holidays. The main U.S. stock exchanges will close at 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday and remain shut on Wednesday.

Four of the 11 major S&P sectors were in the red, with losses in industrials shares weighing the most.

Among stocks, Uber Technologies Inc edged higher after the company said founder and former Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick will resign from the board by the end of the year.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.32-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.17-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 16 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 61 new highs and 21 new lows.

Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal; Editing by Maju Samuel and Arun Koyyur

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source: reuters.com