NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures were posting minor gains in a holiday-shortened Christmas Eve session Wednesday after bouncing to record highs a day earlier.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 18,000 for the first time and the S&P 500 scored a new record high on Tuesday after third-quarter GDP was revised upwards to 5%.
Weekly jobless claims slid again, an indication of the steady improvement in the job market. The number of new claims for unemployment benefits slid 9,000 to 280,000. Economists had expected 290,000 claims after a reading of 289,000 a week earlier.
S&P futures were up 0.12%, Dow futures gained 0.12% and Nasdaq futures climbed 0.15%.
Crude oil prices were giving back some of Tuesday's gains. West Texas Intermediate crude was down 2.4% to $55.74, while major oilers Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX) were lower premarket. Crude prices had seen a brief rebound on Tuesday after Arab OPEC producers said they expect global oil to rebound to between $70 and $80 a barrel by end-2015.
Japan's parliament re-elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday after his win at the polls earlier December. Abe has been charged with restoring growth in the world's second-largest economy through monetary policy easing and stimulus. Tokyo's Nikkei bounced 1.2%.
More troubles for Russia's economy after Standard & Poor's placed it on its CreditWatch Negative list. Russia's ruble has been in freefall alongside oil prices and the economy has suffered from Western sanctions imposed after the country's involvement in Ukraine.
"We are reviewing our assessment of Russia's monetary flexibility and the impact of the weakening economy on its financial system," the agency said in a statement. Standard & Poor's will determine whether the nation's debt is downgraded to junk status completes its review by mid-January.
Sony (SNE) shares were climbing more than 2% premarket on expectations the company will announce its digital distribution plans for 'The Interview' on Wednesday. A day earlier, the studio confirmed plans to distribute to 200 independent theaters Christmas Day.
The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq will close at 1pm EST on Wednesday ahead of the Christmas Day public holiday and will resume normal operations on Friday.
--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.