12-28-17 9:41 AM EST | Email Article

By Sara Sjolin and Mark DeCambre, MarketWatch

Jobless claims are little changed for the week at 245,000

U.S. stock benchmarks rose modestly on Thursday, buoyed by gains in technology and consumer-discretionary shares, in seasonally light trading volume ahead of the New Year's holiday.

What are stock benchmarks doing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 44 points, or 0.2%, to 24,818, led by a rebound in shares of Apple Inc. (AAPL), which has been under pressure for most of the week, and a rise in Boeing Co. (BA), adding about 14 points to the price-weighted equity gauge. The S&P 500 index advanced 3 points, or 0.1%, to 2,685. The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 13 points, or 0.2%, to 6,952.

The small gains come after all three benchmarks closed slightly higher (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/boeing-leads-dow-futures-higher-in-holiday-thinned-session-2017-12-27) in thin trade on Wednesday, with the Dow average ending 0.1% higher, the S&P 500 rising 0.1% and the Nasdaq advancing 3.09 points, or less than 0.1%.

What's driving the markets?

Oil prices on Thursday appeared to stabilize early Thursday, after retreating from 2 1/2 -year highs on Wednesday, helping to lift energy companies in premarket on Thursday. U.S. inventory data out late Wednesday showing a larger-than-expected drawdown (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/api-report-reveals-bigger-than-expected-drop-in-crude-oil-inventories-2017-12-27) in supply last week, helped to support slightly higher prices, with West Texas Intermediate crude little changed in recent trade to $59.64 a barrel on Thursday.

More broadly, trading volumes were thin, with investors likely to remain on vacation until after the New Year's holiday on Monday.

Last week, stocks rallied to records after the Republicans passed the most sweeping overhaul of the U.S. tax code in 30 years as well as a stopgap spending bill to keep the government funded into early 2018. That helped set the S&P on track for a 20% yearly gain, while the Dow and Nasdaq were looking at gains between 25% and 30%.

Which stocks are in focus?

Shares of Chesapeake Energy Corp.(CHK) climbed about 2%, as oil prices attempted to tick higher.

Apples shares are rebounding on Thursday as the iPhone maker attempts to trim a decline of nearly 2% so far this week, on the back of worries about sales of its iPhone X and reports and reports of lawsuits against the tech giant.

Tesla Inc.(TSLA) rose less than 0.3%, after losing 1.8% on Wednesday when KeyBanc analysts slashed their fourth-quarter estimates for Model 3 deliveries to about 5,000 from 15,000 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tesla-shares-dip-after-keybanc-slashes-model-3-estimates-2017-12-27).

(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tesla-shares-dip-after-keybanc-slashes-model-3-estimates-2017-12-27)What's on deck in economic data?

Investors are awaiting the purchasing managers index for Chicago due at 9:45 a.m. Eastern.

Initial U.S. jobless claims, a tool to measure layoffs, were unchanged (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/jobless-claims-stick-to-245000-in-week-before-christmas-2017-12-28)at 245,000 last week. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast claims to total 239,000.

Meanwhile, the U.S. deficit in goods increased 2.3% in November to $69.7 billion.

What are other markets doing?

Bitcoin prices plunged (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bitcoin-tumbles-almost-10-as-south-korea-moves-to-curb-crypto-trade-2017-12-28), with spot prices erasing more than $1,000 after South Korea announced tougher measures to crack down on cryptocurrencies trade.

The dollar dropped (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dollar-index-drops-to-multiweek-lows-after-us-bond-yields-tumble-2017-12-28) against most other major currencies, with the ICE index down 0.3% at 92.730. The broad-based dollar selloff came after U.S. Treasury yields tumbled on Wednesday.

Metals were mostly higher, with gold prices up 0.4% at $1,296.50 an ounce.

Asian stocks closed mostly higher (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tech-stocks-lead-recovery-in-asian-markets-2017-12-27), while European markets wavered around the flat line.


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 28, 2017 09:41 ET (14:41 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2017 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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