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Dec 24, 2016

Wall Street at Close Report - December 23, 2016: Dow Books 7th Straight Weekly Gain in Muted Preholiday Trade

marketwatch.com

Carla Mozee, Ryan Vlastelica


U.S. stocks on Friday ended a thinly traded session with slight gains as the “Santa rally” that has taken indexes to repeated records lost steam in the final trading days before the holidays.
However, major indexes posted gains for the week, and while the Dow once again failed to pierce the closely watched milestone of 20,000, the blue-chip gauge logged its seventh consecutive weekly gain. That streak matches its longest weekly run since the period between Oct. 4, 2014 and the first week of December 2014, according to FactSet data.

The market has been in rally mode since the U.S. election, with investors betting that President-elect Donald Trump will advocate for policies — including massive corporate tax cuts and deregulation — that will accelerate growth. The S&P 500 has spiked more than 5% since the election, while the Dow has risen more than 8%.

See: The Dow Jones Industrial Average is the best active fund ever engineered
“The word of the day is ‘holiday,’ which has been settling in as a theme all week,” said Frank Davis, head of sales and trading at LEK Securities in New York. “There has been a slowdown in trading volume and a slowdown in volatility, and we’ve also had a pretty good move since the election, so we’re digesting that move, which is healthy.”

Trading volume has been light this week, with some market participants already out for the Christmas holiday. Markets are closed Monday. It was the second lowest volume day, with 3.98 billion shares changing hands, according to Dow Jones data and a mere 31 million shares exchanged on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF SPY, +0.15% roughly a third of its 89.8 million average over the past 30 sessions.
Read: Is the stock market ignoring the most of important risks of 2017?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.07%  rose 14.93 points to 19,933.81, a move of less than 0.1%. On a point basis, the blue-chip index traded in its narrowest daily range in three years.
The S&P 500 SPX, +0.13%  edged 2.8 points higher to 2,263.76, a move of 0.1%, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.28%  tacked on 0.3%, or 15.27 points, to 5,462.69.
For the week, the Dow ended up 0.5%, the S&P returned 0.3%, and the Nasdaq rose 0.3%.
Read: Why Dow 20,000 isn’t a foregone conclusion in 2016
The day’s gains were slight but broad, with nine of the S&P 500’s 11 sectors rising on the day. Health-care stocks were the strongest performers, up 0.8%, while consumer-discretionary shares were among the biggest drags, falling 0.2%.
Also: Why Dow 20K is the mark of an underachieving market
In the latest economic data, new home sales rose 5.2% in November, advancing to their second-highest pace since early 2008. Separately, the final December reading on consumer sentiment rose, the latest sign of postelection optimism.
Check out MarketWatch’s Economic Calendar.
Corporates: Aerie Pharmaceuticals Inc. AERI, +3.90%  rose 3.9%. Earlier, the pharmaceutical company said the manufacturing line related to its glaucoma treatment Rhopressa won't be ready in time for inspection by the Food and Drug Administration.
Uniform and office maintenance supply company Cintas Corp. CTAS, -3.11% late Thursday forecast fiscal 2017 earnings of $4.57 to $4.65 a share on revenue of $5.18 billion to $5.23 billion. Analysts expect $4.61 a share on revenue of $5.22 billion. The stock fell 3.1%.
Prestige Brands Holdings Inc. PBH, +5.58% said late Thursday it plans to buy privately held C.B. Fleet Co. for $825 million. Fleet is known for its line of over-the-counter enemas and laxatives, as well as its Summers Eve line of feminine hygiene products. Shares of Prestige rose 5.6%.
Other markets: European stocks SXXP, +0.04% ended with a slight upward bias, while Asian stocks slipped, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, -0.28%  off 0.3%.
Oil futures CLG7, +0.57%  finished up with slight gain, as did gold futures GCG7, +0.40% The U.S. ICE Dollar Index DXY, -0.16% was down less than 0.1%.