Market lifts on quiet day
new york» Wall Street traders sometimes root for year-end “Santa Claus rallies,” but on Friday, hardly a creature was stirring as stocks finished slightly higher on the quietest full day of trading in more than a year. Health care companies brought in most of the gains.
Major U.S. indexes stayed in a narrow range throughout the day. Drugmakers and other companies in health care did the best, while retailers continued to take small losses just before the holiday. Energy companies also slipped, and they took their first weekly loss since the beginning of November. The Dow Jones industrial average, however, rose for the seventh week in a row.
Defense contractor Lockheed Martin fell after president-elect Donald Trump again tweeted that the company’s F-35 fighter jet costs too much. The stock is down almost 6 percent this month.
The Dow Jones industrial average picked up 14.93 points, or 0.1 percent, to 19,933.81. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 2.83 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,263.79. The Nasdaq composite rose 15.27 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,462.69.
Fewer than 2 billion shares changed hands on the New York Stock Exchange. That’s barely half the volume of an average day. The last full trading day with that little activity was in October 2015.
Drug companies made small gains. Botox maker Allergan rose $5.09, or 2.6 percent, to $199.08. Aetna added $1.26, or 1 percent, to $125.95.
Benchmark U.S. crude added 7 cents to close at $53.02 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 11 cents to close at $55.16 a barrel in London.