Oil could grease the skids for the Dow to reach 20,000.
The Dow inched closer but couldn't make it over the top on Tuesday, so traders now are holding out hope it can climb above the big milestone Wednesday. Stock futures were higher in Wednesday trading, as higher commodities prices lifted stocks globally.
"We're right there. It looks like we're a rounding error away," said Ari Wald, technical analyst at Oppenheimer. While the Dow gained 11 to close at 19,945, the Nasdaq jumped a half percent to 5,487, a new closing high.
Wald said it's a positive that the "Santa rally" period has been a time for gains so far, albeit slight. The rally period is the final five trading days of the old year and the first two of the new year.
"Since 1928, the S&P  has been higher in 68 out of 88 years," said Wald. For the 88-year period, the S&P has gained an average 1.7 percent in those seven trading days.
But following a positive Santa rally period, the S&P has gained on average 2.8 percent in the following three-month period.
"However, equally important is if the market is down during the seven-day period, it actually tends to bode unfavorably for forward performance," he said. Wald noted the S&P has averaged a 1.2 percent loss in the three months, following a decline in those seven trading days.
On tap for Wednesday, pending home sales are reported at 10 a.m. ET. The Treasury also auctions $34 billion five-year notes at 1 p.m.