By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch

Heavy data lineup includes durable goods, Fed meeting minutes

Major U.S. stock indexes could be in for a fight to hang in record territory on Wednesday, with fewer traders expected to support a push higher as the Thanksgiving Day holiday exodus begins.

Investors will get a last big batch of economic data and minutes of the November Federal Reserve interest-rate policy meeting before the holiday break begins. U.S. markets will be closed Thursday and observe an early close on Friday.

Read:Here's when markets close on Black Friday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-when-markets-close-on-black-friday-2016-11-18)

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures eased 2 points to 18,993, while S&P 500 index futures slipped 1 point to 2,199.75. Nasdaq-100 futures fell 3.25 points to 4,871.50.

Major indexes hit record highs simultaneously for the second straight day on Wednesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stocks-on-track-to-knock-out-fresh-record-highs-2016-11-22). The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4% to finish at 19,023.87, its first session of moving past and closing above 19,000. The Dow's climb between 18,000 and 19,000 has taken 483 trading days, marking a 5.6% rise (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dow-19k-its-been-a-slow-march-2016-11-18).

The S&P 500 index closed up 0.2% at a record 2,202.94, while the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 17.49 points to finish at a record 5,386.35. In addition, the Russell 2000 index hit a new record.

Opinion:Why the Dow at 19,000 is no cause for celebration (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dow-19000-is-no-cause-for-celebration-2016-11-22)

Even if the major indexes manage to deepen that record run on Wednesday, it may not be significant for the overall picture.

"The price action will only really become relevant on Monday, when 'normal service' resumes. I think we'll see a bit more of a short squeeze, but it's not 'real' buying per se, just a bit of momentum and a desire to squeeze the bears," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, in emailed comments.

A short squeeze refers to when short sellers of a security are being pushed out of their positions, adding upward pressure to a stock or an index.

Durable goods, Fed minutes ahead: Inspiration for stocks could stem from a batch of data due for release Wednesday, including weekly jobless claims and durable goods orders and within it, the telling core capital orders for October, at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

The preliminary November Markit manufacturing purchasing managers index is due at 9:45 a.m. Eastern, followed by new-home sales for October and consumer sentiment for November at 10 a.m. Eastern.

At 2 p.m. Eastern, the Federal Open Market Committee minutes from the November 1-2 meeting are due for release. The minutes are "expected to trigger little enthusiasm given that the market already assesses 100% probability for a Federal Reserve interest-rate hike in December," said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior market analyst at London Capital Group.

Read: Tom DeMark now sees 5%-6% retreat for stock markets in wake of Trump rally (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tom-demark-now-sees-5-6-retreat-for-stock-market-in-wake-of-trump-rally-2016-11-22)

Stocks to watch:Eli Lilly(LLY) shares tumbled 14% premarket after the company said its Alzheimer's drug failed (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/eli-lilly-shares-slide-premarket-after-company-says-alzheimers-drug-trial-failed-2016-11-23).

Deere & Co.(DE)rose 2.4% after profit and sales beat expectations (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/deeres-stock-surges-after-profit-and-sales-beat-expectations-2016-11-23).

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Co.(HPE) and HP Inc.(HPQ) both fell in late trading Tuesday after reporting earnings (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hewlett-packard-revenues-shrink-just-like-the-company-2016-11-22).

Read:Hewlett-Packard revenues shrink, just like the company (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hewlett-packard-revenues-shrink-just-like-the-company-2016-11-22)

Urban Outfitters Inc.(URBN) shares fell 10% in late trading after an earnings miss (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/urban-outfitters-shares-slip-after-earnings-miss-2016-11-22).

Other markets: European stocks were largely weaker, though the FTSE-100 index (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/commodity-stocks-pull-ftse-100-higher-once-again-2016-11-23) bucked that trend with a 0.6% gain, led by basic materials companies. U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is scheduled to deliver his "autumn statement" to parliament later Wednesday.

Oil prices rose moderately ahead of updated U.S. inventory data from the Energy Information Administration. Crude prices have been buffeted recently by next week's meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

The dollar traded mostly steady, while gold prices inched up.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 23, 2016 07:23 ET (12:23 GMT)

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