US stocks open higher amid talk of ‘Santa Claus rally’

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) (AFP pic)

NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks opened higher Friday, keeping hope alive for a “Santa Claus Rally” despite worries about slowing economic growth.

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 23,266.54, up 0.6%.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 0.7% to 2,506.88, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 0.8% to 6,629.10.

US stocks have risen the last two sessions, recovering some of the losses from a bruising December that has seen investors flee equities amid a range of issues, including a US government shutdown, higher Federal Reserve interest rates and forecasts for slowing growth in 2019 and a possible recession in 2020.

The normally-sleepy period between Christmas and New Year’s typically sets conditions for a “Santa Claus” rally, when stocks float higher in lightly-traded sessions.

However, trading data suggest volume this year is busier than usual as stocks have gyrated.

Among individual companies, Tesla Motors rose 2.4% after announcing that it named Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison and Walgreens Boots Alliance Executive Vice President Kathleen Wilson-Thompson to its board of directors, completing the requirements of a US settlement of fraud charges involving Chief Executive Elon Musk.