US stocks mixed ahead of early close for Christmas


New York
Major U.S. stock indexes wavered between small gains and losses Tuesday morning in muted trading ahead of an early close for the Christmas holiday.
Industrial and health care stocks were the biggest decliners. Cintas lost 1.2% and Edwards Lifesciences fell 1.1%.
Those losses outweighed broad gains for retailers , restaurant chains and other companies that rely on consumer spending. Home Depot rose 0.7%, Ross Stores added 0.9% and Yum Brands rose 0.4%.
Homebuilders bounced back Tuesday after falling broadly the day before following a disappointing home sales report. Lennar climbed 1.8% and D.R. Horton rose 0.7%
Several energy stocks notched gains as the price of crude oil headed higher. Diamondback Energy rose 1.9%.
The market’s modest slide follows a strong winning streak for stocks that has propelled the major indexes to record highs this month. The benchmark S&P 500 index has finished with a weekly gain in 10 out of the past 11 weeks.
Rising optimism around a “Phase 1” trade deal announced earlier this month between the United States and China helped put investors in a buying mood in recent weeks. Fears about a possible recession have also faded since the summer after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates three times, and the central bank appears set to keep them low for a long time.
Still, as traders turn their attention to 2020, fears about the outlook for the global economy remain as do concerns over unresolved trade issues between Washington and Beijing. Next year also has the added complication of the U.S. presidential election.

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