Wall Street set to open flat as holiday lull sets in


Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, US December 13, 2017. Photo: Reuters


NEW YORK: Wall Street was poised to open little changed in what could be a quiet session on Friday as investors prepare for the Christmas holiday.

The week’s highlight was a historic overhaul of the US tax code, which is expected to benefit corporates due to a significant cut in the amount levied on businesses, hopes of which have sparked a rally in shares this year.

Investors were also relieved after the US Congress averted a government shutdown on Thursday just one day before federal funding was due to expire.

“We’re in a bullish phase and investors have things to feel good about - a strong economy as witnessed by a 3.2 percent growth in GDP, a tax plan that is all but signed,” said Andres Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

“The tax plan will add more credibility to the Republican government and will be used as a leverage to get more things done.”

US markets are shut for the Christmas holiday on Monday.

At 8:34 a.m. ET (1334 GMT), S&P 500 e-minis ESc2 were up 0.5 points, or 0.02 percent, with 57 contracts changing hands.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc2 were down 0.5 points, or 0.01 percent, in volume of 11 contracts.

Dow e-minis 1YMc2 were up 3 points, or 0.01 percent, with 21 contracts changing hands.

Wall Street’s main indexes rose on Thursday, boosted by bank and oil stocks after data showed the US economy grew in the third quarter at its fastest pace in more than two years.

A report on Friday showed US consumer spending accelerated in November amid an increase in demand for recreational goods and utilities.

The Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure, the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index excluding food and energy, rose 0.1 percent in November and lifted the annualized core PCE to 1.5 percent from 1.4 percent reported in October.

Wildly volatile bitcoin plunged below $13,000, losing around a third of its market value in five days. The cryptocurrency was last trading at $12,544 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange BTC=BTSP

Companies that have been trying to ride the bitcoin wave were hit hard by the cryptocurrency’s slump.

Long Blockchain (LTEA.O), Overstock.com (OSTK.O), Xunlei (XNET.O), Riot Blockchain (RIOT.O) and Marathon Patent Group (MARA.O) tumbled between 7 percent and 22 percent in premarket trading.

Nike (NKE.N) dipped about 3 percent to $62.85 after the company forecast muted current-quarter revenue growth, highlighting its struggles to regain market share in North America from a resurgent Adidas.

Celgene (CELG.O) shares fell 4.52 percent to $103 after the company’s follicular lymphoma regimen failed in a clinical trial.

Shares of Ignyta (RXDX.O) soared 72 percent to $26.77 after Swiss drug maker Roche (ROG.S) said it would buy the U.S. cancer drug specialist for $1.7 billion.