By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
U.S. stock futures were moving higher on Friday as investors got ready to close out the final trading session of 2016, which is set to deliver the best year for the Dow industrials in three years.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 37 points, or 0.2%, to 19,796, while S&P 500 futures gained 5.4 points, or 0.2%, to 2,250.25. Nasdaq-100 futures added 11.25 points, or 0.2%, to 4,929.75.
Stocks closed slightly lower on Thursday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/wall-street-stocks-set-to-struggle-as-investors-brace-for-more-data-2016-12-29), with investors reluctant to make big moves before the year's end. The S&P 500 index closed down less than a point at 2,249.37, while the Dow industrials closed down 11 points to 19,821.49, and the Nasdaq fell 6.47 points to 5,432.
That was on the heels of Wednesday's hefty drop for the S&P 500 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dow-on-track-to-make-a-fresh-attempt-to-hurdle-over-20000-2016-12-28), the biggest one-day percentage fall since Oct. 11.
Opinion: The best stocks for 2017 might be the worst performers of 2016 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-best-stocks-for-2017-might-be-the-worst-performers-of-2016-2016-12-29)
With one session left to go, the Dow is set finish the year 13.7% higher, which would mark the biggest percentage gain since 2013. For the week, the index is set to finish 0.6% lower. The S&P 500 is looking at a yearly gain of around 10%, the best since 2014. The Nasdaq Composite is looking at a gain of 8.5%.
Stocks have enjoyed late year gains, rising on the heels of the U.S. elections and hopes thatPresident-elect Donald Trump will deliver economic growth and stimulate the economy.
Read:Impressed by the Dow? This stock market has performed just as well in 2016 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/impressed-by-the-dow-this-stock-market-has-performed-just-as-well-in-2016-2016-12-29)
"Barring a miracle, Dow 20,000 looks off the cards, although the rebound in the index over the past year, as in other U.S. markets, has been astounding," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, a global leader in online trading.
"Only time will tell if the Trump euphoria can be sustained, or whether we are due another correction early on in the New Year," said Beauchamp in a note to clients.
The only data of note for Friday is the Chicago purchasing managers index for December, due at 9:45 a.m. Eastern Time. U.S. stock markets will observe usual trading hours on Friday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/when-do-us-markets-close-for-new-years-day-2016-12-29), but since New Year's Day falls on Sunday, virtually all U.S. financial markets will be closed Monday, Jan. 2, in observance.
Read:The SEC's fraud-busting investing tips for 2017 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-secs-fraud-busting-investing-tips-for-2017-2016-12-29)
Other markets: European stocks were set for their first yearly slide since 2011, while Asian markets ended the year slightly higher.
The dollar index (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dollar-weakens-against-yen-taking-a-hit-on-weak-us-home-sales-2016-12-29) , which tracks the currency against a basket of six major crosses, fell to 102.15 from 102.70 in late North American trade on Thursday. That was chiefly due to weakness against the Japanese yen . The euro had a brief, unexplained spike above $1.07 in Asian trading hours.
Oil prices and gold were both trading moderately higher.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
December 30, 2016 05:57 ET (10:57 GMT)Copyright (c) 2016 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.