Wall Street ended a shortened week on a mixed note despite an uptick in oil prices, a broad indicator of economic demand.
Equities closed with mixed signals after spending much of the day's session fluctuating between minor losses and gains. The S&P 500 dropped 0.16%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.29%, and the Nasdaq added 0.05%. The S&P 500 remains higher for the year, though by a mere 0.1%.
Trading volume was low ahead of the holiday break. Shares traded on the S&P 500 reached 150 million by the session's close, a fraction of its three-month daily average of nearly 700 million. Wall Street closed at 1 p.m. EST on Thursday for Christmas Eve and will be closed on Friday for Christmas.
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 1.6% to $38.08 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.
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) shares fell 2.3% 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) rejected Canadian Pacific's (CP) 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) 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.Salesforce ( CRM) shares declined slightly after the business software company agreed to buy SteelBrick for $360 million. The company specializes in cloud-based billing services.