U.S. stocks were struggling to secure gains on Thursday after a major rally a day earlier that pushed equities into positive territory for the year.
The S&P 500 was flat, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.08%, and the Nasdaq added 0.25%.
Commodity markets continued to climb after a massive rally on Wednesday. Crude oil was on track for its biggest weekly gain in two months following welcome signs of slowing production in the U.S. and forecasts of higher prices in the long-term. West Texas Intermediate crude added 1.5% to $38.05 a barrel on Friday.
The number of new claims for unemployment benefits in the U.S. dropped by 5,000 to 267,000 in the past week, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The four-week jobless claims average, which smooths out week-to-week inconsistencies, rose 1,750 to 272,500.
Wall Street will close at 1 p.m. EST on Thursday for Christmas Eve and will be closed on Friday for Christmas.
SunEdison (SUNE) added 10% after announcing it is in talks to secure a new credit facility of up to $650 million. The potential new facility would be used to pay back loans outstanding on its existing credit facility.
Hyatt Hotels (H) - Get Report shares fell almost 1% after the company said its payment processing system had been infected with malware. The hotel chain discovered the attack on November 30 and said the problem has been fixed, though advised customers to check their accounts for unusual activity.
Norkfolk Southern (NSC) - Get Report rejected Canadian Pacific's (CP) - Get Report latest bid, arguing that the new offer remains "grossly inadequate." Canadian Pacific had offered a higher bid on Dec. 16 after its first was rejected.
FedEx (FDX) - Get Report is reportedly having difficulty keeping up with demand. A number of retailers including Eddie Bauer and Pacific Sunwear (PSUN) warned that holiday packages have been delayed and blamed broader problems at the delivery company, according to The Wall Street Journal.
shares declined slightly after the business software company agreed to buy
for $360 million. The company specializes in cloud-based billing services.