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Stock Market

Stocks - U.S. Futures Point to 3-Day Rally as End of Year Attracts Buyers

Investing.com - U.S. futures pointed to a higher open on Friday as a volatile week saw stocks rally for a

Investing.com - U.S. futures pointed to a higher open on Friday as a volatile week saw stocks rally for a third straight day as they headed for the end of 2018.

The blue-chip Dow futures gained 160 points, or 0.69%, to 23,312.50 points by 6:52 AM ET (11:52 GMT), the S&P 500 futures rose 17 points, or 0.69%, to 2,512.25 points, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures traded up 35 points, or 0.55%, to 6,358.38 points.

Although Wall Street began the week with the worst Christmas Eve selloff in its history, buyers quickly entered the market when doors reopened after the holiday with the Dow managing to lodge a record 1,000-point rally.

Thursday saw U.S. stocks start off on the back-foot only to stage their best reversal since 2010 to end in positive territory and the bullish vibe looked set to continue on the last day of the week.

"Selling pressure on U.S. equities is beginning to dissipate, but the VIX index is still around 29 with investor risk sentiment still recovering. A renewed market slide remains a risk," said Junichi Ishikawa, senior FX strategist at IG Securities in Tokyo

But worries pervade as investors face 2019, with stocks still on track for their worst month of December since 1931 and both the Dow and S&P 500 down more than 6% for all of 2018.

Concerns remain over political turmoil in Washington, unresolved trade issues between the U.S. and China, higher interest rates and a global economic slowdown.

“I think worries regarding the U.S. government shutdown as well as lack of clarity over whether the U.S.-Sino negotiations (over trade) will go well or not still remain,” said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

The partial government shutdown entered its seventh day with markets looking ahead to Jan. 3 when Democrats take control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

As U.S. President Donald Trump grapples with Congress over $5 billion in funding for the southern border wall, Democratic chief Nancy Pelosi, incoming House speaker, promised that the chamber will pass a spending bill designed to reopen the government without funding for the border wall.

“We will vote swiftly to reopen government and show that Democrats will govern responsibly in stark contrast to this chaotic White House,” Pelosi said in a statement.

On the economic front, and due to the partial government shutdown, trade balance data and wholesale inventories that were originally scheduled for release Friday will not be published.

However, the Chicago purchasing managers’ index for December is expected to be released at 9:45 AM ET (14:45 GMT), while the National Association of Realtors will publish November pending home sales at 10:00 AM ET (15:00 GMT).

With regard to oil, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) will release its weekly report on crude inventories at 11:00 AM ET (16:00 GMT), amid expectations for a stock draw of 2.9 million barrels. If confirmed, that would mark the fourth consecutive decline. U.S. crude inventories for the week to Dec. 21 rose by 6.9 million barrels to 448.2 million barrels on increased refinery output, according to data released on Thursday by industry group the American Petroleum Institute.

Also on the radar, Baker Hughes will release its weekly rig count data, an early indicator of future output, at 1:00 PM ET (18:00 GMT).

Ahead of the data, the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against six rival currencies, was down 0.23% to 95.78 by 6:55 AM ET (11:55 GMT).

In commodities, gold futures slipped 0.01 to $1,281.00 a troy ounce, while crude oil rebounded 2.167% to $45.58 a barrel.

-- Reuters contributed to this report.