Futures near record highs in holiday lull By Reuters

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By Manas Mishra

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures remained near record highs on Monday, as traders took a breather on the penultimate day of the decade after improving global sentiment fueled a Wall Street rally and set the S&P 500 on course for its best year since 2013.

The announcement of a Phase 1 U.S.-China trade deal earlier in December, coupled with a loose monetary policy of the Federal Reserve and robust domestic economic data, powered the three major U.S. stock indexes to multiple record highs in December.

The benchmark S&P 500, which has gained for four months in a row, has closed at a record high in nine of the past 11 sessions, while the Nasdaq breached the 9,000 mark last week. The blue-chip Jones has also risen for three straight weeks.

But with thin trading volumes in a holiday-shortened week and few major updates expected on the trade agreement before the new year, the record-setting run is set to lose some steam.

After looking forward to a trade deal between the world’s top two economies all year, investors are now awaiting finer details of the initial agreement, analysts said, with some lingering doubts about how long the truce will last.

On Friday, the Nasdaq snapped an 11-day winning streak.

The latest economic indicators from China have also been mixed. A Reuters poll showed on Monday factory activity in the Asian country likely expanded again in December on stronger external demand and an infrastructure push at home, but the pace of growth is set to ease.

Meanwhile, China’s retail sales are expected to have increased 8% in 2019, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, compared with a 9% rise in 2018.

At 7:06 a.m. ET, were up just 19 points, or 0.07%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 2 points, or 0.06% and were up 3.25 points, or 0.04%.

Among individual movers, Tesla Inc (O:) was slightly higher in premarket trading as the electric-car maker began deliveries of the China-made Model 3 sedans. The stock closed Friday just shy of a record high.

U.S. satellite imagery company Maxar Technologies Inc (N:) gained 10% as it said it would sell its space robotics business to a consortium led by Northern Private Capital for C$1 billion ($765.23 million).

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