U.S equities were little changed in an abbreviated trading session before the holiday. Volume was light, as is common on the day before Christmas. The return to a calm Christmas Eve was welcomed after last year the day brought the worst plunge of the year; no such fireworks today. Treasuries joined equities in mostly taking the day off, but did post modest gains. With little to spur momentum, the U.S. dollar was flat on the day. International markets were a bit more mixed. Crude oil and gold rose. In equity news, Boeing told suppliers to halt shipments of parts for the 737 Max jet starting next month. The sole economic report of the day brought no holiday cheer as the Richmond Fed Manufacturing Activity Index fell further into contraction territory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 36 points (0.1%) to 28,515, the S&P 500 fell 1 point to 3,223 and the NASDAQ was up 7 points (0.1%) to 8,952. In light volume, 314 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 992 million shares changed hands on the NASDAQ. WTI oil added $0.46 to $60.98 per barrel and wholesale gasoline rose $0.02 to $1.72 per gallon. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price rose $15.60 to $1,504.30 per ounce. The Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—was flat at 97.67.
The Richmond Fed Manufacturing Activity Index for December unexpectedly fell further into contraction territory (a reading below zero), dropping to -5 versus forecasts calling for the figure to rise to 9 from November’s -1 level. Treasuries were higher amid a light economic calendar, with the yield on the 2-year dropping 2 basis points (bps) to 1.63%, the 10 year yield shedding 3 bps to 1.75% and the 30-year bond rate dropping 2 bps to 2.38%.
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