Global stock markets were mostly flat in quiet Christmas Eve trading on Tuesday, running out of fizz before the festive break, although the Nasdaq hit its ninth straight record close.
US investors have been in a cheery mood most of the fall as the outlook for US-China trade talks improved, reducing uncertainty, and most economic reports have been good.
In the sleepy holiday-shortened sessions, the broad S&P 500 slipped a hair, and the benchmark Dow dipped 0.1 percent, but the Nasdaq, with a 0.1 percent gain, posted another all-time high.
It was a similar picture in other major markets, as London’s benchmark FTSE 100 shares index rose 0.1 percent, while the Paris CAC 40 finished flat.
“In true Christmas tradition, financial markets saw low trading volumes and volatility,” said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.
Frankfurt’s DAX 30 had already shut for Christmas.
Trading volumes are typically light at this stage with many investors away for extended Christmas and New Year holiday celebrations.
But the sleepy session was punctuated by some big developments.
New Boeing revelations
Dow member Boeing fell 1.4 percent after reports the embattled company sent new documents to the congressional committee investigating its response to two deadly crashes.
The documents “appear to point to a very disturbing picture” about Boeing’s response to safety issues regarding the 737 MAX, an aide to the US House Transportation Committee told AFP.
The company sent the documents to the committee late Monday, hours after announcing it had ousted Dennis Muilenburg as chief executive and installed Chairman David Calhoun in the post. Shares had rallied on the leadership change.
Meanwhile, Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick on Tuesday severed his last ties with the ride-hailing giant, announcing he would exit the board of directors at the end of 2019.
Uber shares gained 0.4 percent.
‘Santa Rally’ fades
Investors were pausing for breath after a bumper run over the last two weeks or so.
“Investors must feel as if they were extra good this year,” said CFRA Research Chief Investment Strategist Sam Stovall, who noted that both stocks and bonds rose solidly in 2019.
Global equities have already enjoyed a “Santa Rally” as dealers welcomed news over the US-China trade war and Brexit, having been on a roller-coaster ride for the last 12 months.
Britain’s pro-Brexit Prime Minister Boris Johnson won a landslide election on December 12, boosting investor sentiment.
Last week, Johnson clinched parliamentary approval for the nation to depart from the European Union on January 31, dispelling Brexit uncertainty that had plagued markets for more than three years.
The rally gathered pace at widespread investor relief over the China-US trade pact, with the two economic superpowers set to sign off the deal early next month.
Asian markets were mixed in thin business Tuesday.
Key figures around 1930 GMT
New York – Dow: DOWN 0.1 percent at 28,515.45 (close)
New York – S&P 500: FLAT at 3,223.38 (close)
New York – Nasdaq: UP 0.1 percent at 8,952.88 (close)
London – FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 7,632.24 points (close)
Paris – CAC 40: FLAT at 6,029.55 (close)
Frankfurt – DAX 30: closed for holiday
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.1 percent at 3,774.29
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: FLAT at 23,830.58 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.2 percent at 27,864.21 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.7 percent at 2,982.68 (close)
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2958 from $1.2936
Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.52 pence from 85.73 pence
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1085 from $1.1079
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 109.39 yen from 109.44 yen
Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.8 percent at $67.21 per barrel
West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.6 percent at $61.14