After ending the previous session modestly lower, stocks turned in another lackluster performance during trading on Wednesday. The major averages fluctuated over the course of the trading session before closing slightly higher.
The major averages closed in positive territory but off their best levels of the day. The Dow ticked up 28.09 points or 0.1 percent to 24,774.30, the Nasdaq inched up 3.09 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 6,939.34 and the S&P 500 edged up 2.12 points or 0.1 percent to 2,682.62.
The choppy trading on Wall Street came as overall activity was light once again, as many traders remained away from their desks following Christmas and ahead of the holiday on New Year’s Day.
Traders largely shrugged off a mixed batch of economic data, as pending home sales unexpectedly edged higher but consumer confidence pulled back more than expected.
The National Association of Realtors released a report showing its pending home sales index inched up by 0.2 percent to 109.5 in November after surging up by 3.5 percent to 109.3 in October. Economists had expected pending home sales to dip by 0.5 percent.
A pending home sale is one in which a contract was signed but not yet closed. Normally, it takes four to six weeks to close a contracted sale.
With the unexpected uptick, the pending home sales index reached its highest level since hitting 110.0 in June. The index is also up by 0.8 percent year-over-year.
Meanwhile, a separate report from the Conference Board showed its consumer confidence index slumped to 122.1 in December from a downwardly revised 128.6 in November.
Economists had expected the consumer confidence index to edge down to 128.0 from the 129.5 originally reported for the previous month.
The bigger than expected decrease by the consumer confidence index came after it reached its highest level in seventeen years in November.
Most of the major sectors ended the day showing only modest moves, contributing to the lackluster close by the broader