Dow Jones opens higher after brutal Christmas Eve trading session

Friday, 28 Dec, 2018

On the whole, it's been a turbulent month - the market remains on track for its worst December since 1931, during the depths of the Depression, and could finish 2018 with its biggest losses in a decade.

European markets fell sharply on their first day of trading since Monday.

After strong holiday sales report from Mastercard on Wednesday, investors will watch for the consumer confidence data due at 10:00 am ET, which is likely to show the index fell to 133.7 in December from 135.7 in the month before.

It has been an extremely volatile time for the U.S. market - which is facing its worst December performance since the Great Depression in 1931.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by 653 points Monday in volatile trading, falling below 22,000.

To call the bottom, Antonelli is looking for, along with other indicators, at least two consecutive days in which the percentage of stocks rising exceeds 90, an event that happened today. "And it's also looking for opportunities to reposition and lessen risk".

The partial US government shutdown that started Saturday is unlikely to hurt the economy much, although it may deprive the financial markets of data about worldwide trade and gross domestic product.

"The market was pressured by worries over Washington, the Fed and the threat of the trade war sparking a global recession", said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research. The broad S&P 500 index soared 5 percent to 2,467.70. The tech-heavy index traded 4.4 percent lower at 6,242 points in early trade.

CNBC noted, "Retailers were among the best performers on Wednesday, with the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT) jumping 4.4 percent".

Oil also pared gains and descended further into a bear market, down more than a third from October highs. Advanced Micro Devices slid 6 percent to $16.82.

Perrigo gave up 5.8 percent to $38.35, one of the big decliners in the health care sector. Wall Street traditionally considers a drop of 20 percent or more from recent highs to be a bear market. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2.7 percent to 2,351.10.

The decline in oil prices weighed on energy stocks.

The S&P is now down 15.8 percent since its all-time high on September 20.

The offshore yuan was little changed after China released new rules promising to treat all companies equally, the latest positive step on the trade and investment front since further USA and Chinese tariff hikes were paused. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, was down 1.7 percent to $53.80 a barrel in London.

Investors also bought yen, pushing the dollar 0.4 per cent lower versus the Japanese currency and forcing it to cede some of its 1-per-cent overnight rise. The euro strengthened to $1.1444 from $1.1351. The Shanghai Composite Index ended 0.9 percent lower to 2,504.82. Commonwealth Bank closed 2.5 per cent higher at $70.33, Westpac climbed 1.4 per cent to $24.19, NAB lifted 1.9 per cent to $23.34 and ANZ closed at $23.70, up 1.5 per cent.