MARKET SNAPSHOT: Dow, S&P Set To Power To Fresh Record On 2017's Last Trading Day

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatchFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

U.S. stocks were set to end 2017 in an upbeat mood, with futures climbing across the board and setting the Dow average and S&P 500 index on track for fresh record highs.

What are stock indexes doing?

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Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 45 points, or 0.2%, to 24,843, set to build on a 0.3% gain from Thursday that was enough to mark an all-time closing high (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/wall-street-eyes-upbeat-session-as-rising-oil-prices-lead-energy-stocks-higher-2017-12-28). That was the 71st record close of 2017 for the index. For the full year, the Dow is eyeing a 25.6% gain, which would be its biggest since 2013.

Futures for the S&P 500 index climbed 7.05 points, or 0.3%, to 2,692.75 on Friday. The benchmark closed just 0.1% below its record close on Thursday, so if it sticks to these gains the S&P will end 2017 at an all-time high. For the full year, it's on track for a 20% advance.

Futures for the Nasdaq-100 index added 11.75 points, or 0.2%, to 6,458 on Friday. The Nasdaq Composite Index closed 0.2% higher on Thursday, setting it on course for a 29% 2017 rally.

What is driving the markets?

Trading has been muted in recent days, with volumes some of the lowest of the year, and traders are likely to remain on vacation until after the New Year's holiday on Monday.

However, the late-session rally on Thursday and Friday morning's positive mood suggested that investors aren't ready to dump stocks going into next year.

Moreover, expectations are growing that President Donald Trump's administration will shift attention to a $1 trillion infrastructure-spending bill, which could deliver a further jolt to Wall Street buying after Republicans passed the most sweeping overhaul of the U.S. tax code in 30 years as well as a stopgap spending bill to keep the government funded into early 2018.

Additionally, the dollar has fallen sharply this week, which is good news for the big American exporters. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index was down 0.3% on Friday, deepening its 2017 loss to 9.7% -- its largest yearly slide since 2003 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dollar-set-to-suffer-worst-year-since-2003-with-10-yearly-loss-2017-12-29).

There are no major economic data releases on deck on Friday.

Which stocks are in focus?

Shares of Netflix Inc.(NFLX) rose 0.9% ahead of the bell. The online-streaming service said on Thursday it plans to increase the annual salary (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/netflix-gives-top-executives-a-big-raise-citing-the-new-tax-law-as-the-reason-2017-12-28) for a number of its top executives in 2018, citing the recently passed tax overhaul for the change.

What are other markets doing?

Oil prices rose (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-set-to-finish-2017-at-2-12-year-highs-natural-gas-soars-again-2017-12-29), with West Texas Intermediate up 0.4% and on track for its highest close in 2 1/2 years.

Metals were mixed, with gold up 0.1% at $1,298.90 an ounce.

Asian stocks closed out 2017 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nikkei-cruises-on-final-trading-day-capping-impressive-yearly-gains-across-asia-2017-12-28) in mostly upbeat fashion, while European markets struggled for direction.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 29, 2017 05:59 ET (10:59 GMT)