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Wall Street set for a positive open as 2017 draws to a close

  • Trading has been lighter than usual this week as investors get ready for the new year.
  • No earnings or major economic data is due

U.S. stock index futures were mixed to higher ahead of Friday's open, as investors get ready for the start of a new trading year.

Trading has been lighter than usual this week as investors get ready for the new year. Consequently, key trends and potential market-moving events will be of key importance to market-watchers from now on, as the final day of trading looms.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Monday, Dec. 18, 2017.
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Monday, Dec. 18, 2017.

In the penultimate session of the year Thursday, U.S. stocks finished slightly higher, with the Dow Jones industrial average securing another record close. Meantime in markets overseas, Asia posted mild gains on Friday while European markets fluctuated in early trade.

Switching focus back to the States, with little data or earnings on the trading day's horizon, investors are likely to be paying close attention to the moves in markets such as commodities and bitcoin, as each market continues to show wild swings.

Looking to energy, oil prices rose on Friday, with U.S. crude trading above $60, hitting highs seen last in mid-2015, as a decline in U.S. production and commercial crude inventories lifted sentiment.

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In individual stock news, Apple issued a statement to consumers apologizing over the handling of its battery issue, after it admitted to slowing down older iPhones. In the letter, the tech giant said it would be making a number of changes for customers "to recognize their loyalty" and try to regain the trust of anybody who could have doubted Apple's intentions.

Meantime, President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday that he was "very disappointed", after a report indicated that China could have run afoul of international sanctions, by providing oil to North Korea. China has denied the accusations.

No speeches by the U.S. Federal Reserve are set to take place Friday.