Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
S&P 500 futures are flat Wednesday as investors eyed the benchmark index's approach to a record high.
The moves follow a winning day on Wall Street to kick off the final trading week of 2023. The stock market was closed on Monday in observance of Christmas Day.
These gains add to what's already been a strong year for the stock market. With just three sessions left in 2023's trading year, the Dow and S&P 500 are poised to end 2023 higher by 13% and 24%, respectively. The Nasdaq Composite has jumped 44%, outperforming amid mega-cap technology's rebound and the artificial intelligence craze.
Stocks are in the thick of what's referred to as the "Santa Claus rally," a period comprised of the last five trading days of an ending year and first two of a new one. The S&P 500 has risen about 1.3% over this timeframe on average, according to data going back to 1950 from the Stock Trader's Almanac.
There's been "enthusiasm" in the market recently, said Scott Wren, senior global market strategist at the Wells Fargo Investment Institute. And "it doesn't surprise me that it would continue this week."
Still, he said the market may be overly optimistic, especially if the Federal Reserve begins cutting interest rates later than traders anticipate. The market is pricing in a more than 70% probability of a decrease to interest rates at the central bank's March meeting, according to CMEGroup's FedWatch tool.
Investors will watch on Wednesday for economic data on the manufacturing industry.
Where stocks stand as year-end nears
The three major indexes remain on pace for notable gains this month, quarter and year with just three sessions left by all three measures.
Here's how much the three have gained in December:
Here's the advances over the fourth quarter:
- The Dow has gained 12.1%.
- The S&P 500 has gained 11.4%.
- The Nasdaq Composite has gained 14%.
Here's where the three stand on the year:
- The Dow has gained 13.3%.
- The S&P 500 has gained 24.4%.
- The Nasdaq Composite has gained 44%, on pace for its best year since 2003.
— Alex Harring
Ascent Industries climbs after announcing deal to sell business arm
Manufacturing stock Ascent Industries jumped more than 5% in extended trading after announcing the sale of its carbon steel pipe and tubing business.
The Illinois-based company sold the business, called Specialty Pipe & Tube, in an all-cash transaction of around $55 million. Profit from the transaction, which closed Friday, will be used in part to pay down debt, Ascent said in a press release.
Shares have fallen nearly 7% in 2023, bucking the broader market's ascent.
— Alex Harring
Stock futures are little changed
Stock futures were muted shortly after 6 p.m. ET.
Futures tied to the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 all traded near flat.
— Alex Harring