wednesday December 21st


Wall Street points to lower open as investors eye Dow 20,000

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wednesday as traders remained unfazed by geopolitical tensions and eyed the Dow Jones' march toward 20,000. The blue-chips index closed about 25 points away from the historic mark on Tuesday, having come within 13 points during the session. Dow futures pointed to a 7 point drop at the open on Wednesday, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures fell. On the data front, Wednesday will see existing home sales data for November released at 10 a.m. ET. On the earnings front, Bed Bath & Beyond, Micron, Red Hat, CalAmp and Herman Miller are due to report after the bell. In Europe, the pan-European Stoxx-600 index was around 0.29 percent lower on Wednesday. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite in China closed 1.15 percent higher, while the Nikkei in Japan closed 0.26 percent lower. In oil markets, Brent crude traded at around $55.52 a barrel on Wednesday, up 0.31 percent, while U.S. WTI was around $53.53 a barrel, up 0.43 percent. Investor expectations of a steep drawdown of U.S. crude inventories increased on Wednesday, albeit with trading activity limited as markets begin to wind down ahead of the Christmas weekend. Gold firmed on Wednesday as a retreat in the dollar from the previous session's 14-year peak prompted some buyers to hunt bargains after the metal's sharp slide from its November high. Prices of the metal have fallen more than 11 percent since the elections before finding a floor at around $1,125 an ounce. Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,134.67 an ounce at 8:22 a.m. EDT, while U.S. gold futures for February delivery were up 0.2 an ounce at $1,136.60.