More pre-holiday cheer on Wall Street

By CNNMoney.com staff


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Stocks were poised to open higher on Wednesday, continuing a positive week leading up to the Christmas holiday, as investors showed little reaction to an income report and awaited new data on home sales.

Dow Jones industrial average, Nasdaq-100 and S&P-500 futures were higher. Futures measure current index values against their perceived future performance and offer an indication of how markets may open when trading begins.

Stocks rallied for a third day on Tuesday, with the Dow and S&P 500 ending just below 14-month highs, after two economic reports fueled optimism.

The National Association of Realtors said sales of existing homes rose 7.4% on an annual basis in November and the government released its final revision of third-quarter gross domestic product, which said the broadest measure of U.S. economic activity rose at a 2.2% annual rate.

Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Jefferies & Co. in Boston, said that Tuesday's positive findings on home sales and GDP, along with progress with the healthcare bill, have all helped bolster the markets.

"I think there's a sense that the overall economy is improving," he said. "We've seen a supportive data stream. We've also seen that healthcare reform, albeit watered down, is moving through Congress."

Hogan said the healthcare bill, expected to reach its final vote on Christmas Eve, is less aggressive than its original version, and is therefore "less onerous on the health care companies."

"The nice thing is that the path of least resistance in this market appears to be higher," he said.

Economy: The government released figures for November that showed an increase of 0.4% in personal income and a 0.5% increase in personal spending.

This fell just short of forecasts from economists surveyed by Briefing.com, who projected a 0.5% increase in personal income and a 0.7% jump in spending.

A day after a surprisingly strong report on existing home sales, the government's report on November new home sales will be released at 10 a.m. ET. Economists expect the annual sales rate to rise to 438,000 from 430,000 a month earlier.

World markets: Asian markets closed higher, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng index up more than 1%; Tokyo was closed for a holiday. European indexes were higher in midday trading.

Currency and commodities: The dollar was mixed against the major international currencies: slipping against the euro and the yen but edging up against the pound.

Crude oil for February delivery rose 45 cents to $74.85 a barrel. The government's weekly crude oil supply report is due at 10:30 a.m. ET.

Gold for February delivery was flat at $1,086 per ounce, after sliding more than $20 in the prior two sessions.  To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.01%4.03%
15 yr fixed3.12%2.97%
5/1 ARM3.11%2.99%
30 yr refi4.04%4.09%
15 yr refi3.15%3.05%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,804.80 26.65 0.15%
Nasdaq 4,765.38 16.98 0.36%
S&P 500 2,070.65 9.42 0.46%
Treasuries 2.18 -0.03 -1.27%
Data as of 8:39pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 17.62 0.09 0.51%
Apple Inc 111.78 -0.87 -0.77%
General Electric Co 25.62 0.48 1.91%
Intel Corp 36.37 -0.65 -1.76%
Microsoft Corp 47.66 0.14 0.29%
Data as of 4:04pm ET

Sections

New York Magazine reporter Jessica Pressler, who has been caught up in controversy this past week, will not be moving on to a new job at Bloomberg News. More

Investors beware: These 5 global crises are likely to rattle the stock market and world economy. More

Forums in dark corners of the web sell the kinds of hacks that befell Sony. More

Unilever sued Hampton Creek over its egg-free mayonnaise spread Just Mayo. But the company behind Best Foods and Hellman's mayonnaise has now dropped the lawsuit. More

The income of the top 1% jumped significantly in 2012, far outpacing inflation. Not only did this group make a larger share of the country's income, their share of total taxes also jumped from 35% to 38%. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.