U.S. Stocks Tick Lower Ahead of Christmas Holiday

Date : 12/24/2019 @ 3:45PM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : FTSE 100 Index (UKX)
Quote : 5842.66  164.93 (2.90%) @ 4:45PM
FTSE 100 share price Chart

U.S. Stocks Tick Lower Ahead of Christmas Holiday

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By Anna Hirtenstein 

U.S. stocks drifted lower Tuesday in a quiet session of trading ahead of the Christmas holiday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 28 points, or 0.1%, to 28523 in early morning trading, while the S&P 500 fell less than 0.1%. The Nasdaq Composite also declined, shedding 0.1%.

Shares of health-care and industrial companies notched minor losses, pulling stock indexes lower.

Analysts said trading volumes were thin, as some investors appeared to be taking a break from the market's massive 2019 rally ahead of the Christmas holiday. Markets are open half a day on Christmas Eve and closed for all of Christmas.

"It's very thin volumes at this time of year, markets move on very small amounts of share trading," said Gerry White, chief investment commentator at Charles Stanley. "General tones for next year are that things are looking a little brighter."

With just two weeks of the year left, stocks are poised to close out their best year since 2013. The S&P 500 has jumped nearly 29% this year, as everything from shares of tech companies to banks to utilities all notched significant gains.

It is a starkly different market environment from a year earlier. Last Christmas Eve, the Dow industrials tumbled more than 650 points and the S&P 500 shed nearly 3%, leaving the broad index short of entering a bear market.

Most of the issues that haunted investors last year have improved significantly, giving the long-running bull rally a crucial source of support to continue through its 10th year.

Trade tensions have cleared up as the U.S. and China work toward signing an pact next month. Worries of a recession have receded for now and most analysts agree the U.S. economy will continue to grow in 2020. And the Federal Reserve gave a significant boost to the market and investor sentiment after cutting interest rates three times this year.

Stocks notched small gains elsewhere.

In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 both edged up 0.1%.

The Shanghai Composite Index closed up 0.7%. Korea's Kospi index slipped 0.6%, falling for the second day as traders booked profits at the year-end.

--Michael Wursthorn contributed to this article.

Write to Anna Hirtenstein at anna.hirtenstein@wsj.com


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 24, 2019 10:30 ET (15:30 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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