US stocks open mixed on Christmas Eve

New York, Dec 24 (IANS) The US stocks opened nearly flat on Thursday, following three days of solid gains, as Wall Street continued to focus on the oil prices on a shortened trading day.

The US stocks market will close early on Thursday for Christmas Eve, and will be shut on Friday for Christmas Day. Trading volumes is expected to be relatively light on Thursday, Xinhua news agency reported.

Oil prices remained near multi-years lows, but extended gains on Thursday after an unexpected fall in the US inventories. Both the US oil and Brent crude jumped nearly four percent Wednesday.

As it will take years to wash out the whole supply in oil market and reach the balance point where supply meets demand, many analysts do not expect oil prices will recovery soon.

On the economic front, in the week ending December 19, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 267,000, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week’ s revised level and slightly below the marker expectations, according to the US Labour Department.

Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 21.54 points, or 0.12 percent, to 17,581.07. The S&P 500 inched down 1.11 points, or 0.05 percent, to 2,063.18. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 3.12 points, or 0.06 percent, to 5,049.05.

The US stocks rallied for a third straight session on Wednesday, as investors digested a batch of economic reports amid a strong rebound in oil prices.

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