US STOCKS-Futures tick up as strong 2014 draws to a close

31 Dec 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »

Stocks open lower as S&P pulls back from record.

U.S. stock futures inched higher Wednesday in the last trading day of the year, with the Dow industrials on track to post their sixth consecutive year of gains.• Home prices rose in October from a year ago at a slightly slower pace, as real estate sales have fallen and affordability has increasingly become a challenge for potential buyers. Stock futures remained slightly higher after the Labor Department reported jobless claims rose by more than expected, up 17,000 to 298,000 in the week ended Dec. 27. The speed and scale of the rally provided incentive to take profits, and amplified volatility is possible this week with many market participants out for the holiday, which dampens volume.

The stock market will be closed on Thursday for the New Year’s holiday. “It wasn’t going to take much to prompt the decline, it’s probably more resting than anything else. The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 55.16 points, or 0.31 percent, to 17,983.07, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 10.22 points, or 0.49 percent, to 2,080.35 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 29.47 points, or 0.61 percent, to 4,777.44. In the latest economic data, consumer confidence rose slightly less than expected in December, while U.S. single-family home price appreciation slowed less than forecast in October. NeuroDerm Ltd (NDRM.O) soared more than 193 percent to $18.14 on heavy volume after it said data from a mid-stage study suggested that a higher dose of its Parkinson’s drug could provide an alternative to treatments that require surgery.

Civeo Corp (CVEO.N), which provides temporary housing for oilfield workers and miners, late Monday slashed its workforce and forecast revenue could fall by one-third as slumping crude prices force oil producers to cut costs. Morgan Private Bank, said a slow-and-steady approach to raising rates shouldn’t diminish the appeal for U.S. stocks. “It’s fundamentally good because it means that the Fed is removing this extraordinary easing and they’re only doing that because they feel that the economy is able to generate self-sustaining growth,” he said. “That will be good for corporate earnings,” he added. Volume was light, with about 4.42 billion shares traded on U.S. exchanges, well below the 7.06 billion average so far this month, according to data from BATS Global Markets. Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,806 to 1,262, for a 1.43-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,671 issues fell and 1,031 advanced for a 1.62-to-1 ratio favoring decliners. The final reading of the HSBC Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to a final reading of 49.6 in December from 50 in November, indicating a contraction in activity.

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