Shares meandered in quiet trading Wednesday after the Dow Jones industrial average inched closer to 20,000 and the Nasdaq Composite rose to a record high.
Germany’s DAX was flat at 11,472.09 and the CAC 40 of France edged 0.1 percent higher to 4,850.98. The FTSE 100 gained 0.2 percent to 7,083.94. Markets on Wall Street looked set to extend gains, with Dow futures up 0.1 percent and S&P 500 futures up 0.2 percent.
The New York Stock Exchange had its lightest full day of trading since October 2015. The Dow added 11.23 points, or 0.1 percent, to 19,945.04. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 5.09 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,268.88. The Nasdaq rose 24.75 points, or 0.5 percent, to a record high 5,487.44.
“Like a pendulum losing momentum, markets have trudged on at this subdued pace … waiting for a new catalyst to re-energize trade in ,” Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary. “Historically the market has always been up into the final days of the year and that seasonality trend certainly appears to hold true,” Pan said.
Retail sales edged up 0.2 percent from the month before in November, after a 2.5 percent jump in October. Industrial output rose 1.5 percent from the month before, in line with economists’ expectations. Surging prices for fresh foods, especially vegetables, have dented consumers’ appetites for spending, economists said. The data provided a “flicker of optimism,” Mizuho Bank economists said in a commentary, “but this is a far cry from an emphatic recovery.”
Japan’s Nikkei 225 was flat at 19,401.72 as Toshiba Corp.’s shares plunged a “limit-down” 20 percent due to anticipated losses on its U.S. nuclear power operations. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 gained 1 percent to 5,685.00. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 0.8 percent to 21,754.74 while the Shanghai Composite index fell 0.4 percent to 3,102.24. South Korea’s Kospi dropped 0.9 percent to 2,024.49. Shares in Southeast Asia were mostly higher.
Benchmark U.S. crude rose 20 cents to $54.10 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 88 cents, or 1.7 percent, to close at $53.90 a barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 23 cents to $57.06 a barrel. It gained 93 cents, or 1.7 percent, to close at $56.83 a barrel in London.
The dollar rose to 117.61 yen from 117.44. The euro fell to $1.0444 from $1.0462.