Stock futures rise ahead of Christmas holiday

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U.S. equity futures are pointing to gains as traders prepare for the final trading day before Christmas.

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The major futures indexes suggest a rise of 0.3% when Wall Street begins the day.

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It will be an abbreviated session with equity trading ending at 1:00 PM eastern time.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 inched up 0.1% to 3,690.01. The benchmark index set a record high on Thursday and is up 14.2% so far this year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.4% to 30,129.83. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.3%, to 12,771.11.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 30129.83 +114.32 +0.38%
SP500 S&P 500 3690.01 +2.75 +0.07%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 12771.114183 -36.80 -0.29%

Gains by financial, communication services, energy and other sectors were kept in check by declines elsewhere, including technology companies, which helped pulled the Nasdaq slightly lower.

London’s FTSE added 0.1% and France’s CAC gained 0.1% in holiday shortened sessions. German markets were closed.

In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index gained 0.5% on Thursday and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong edged 0.2% higher.

CHINA STEPS UP PRESSURE ON ALIBABA WITH ANTI-MONOPOLY PROBE

The Shanghai Composite index lost 0.6% after China’s market regulator said it has launched an anti-monopoly investigation of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, stepping up official efforts to tighten control over the country’s fast-growing tech industries.

Alibaba Group Holding’s share price plunged 8.1% in Hong Kong. JD.com fell 2.3% and Tencent sank 2.6%.

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In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude slipped 15 cents to $47.96 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained $1.10 to $48.12 on Wednesday. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 16 cents to $51.04 per barrel.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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