Markets

Santa Claus rally continues, S&P 500 milestone and oil inventories: 3 things to watch for on Friday

Santa Claus pays a visit on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange, November 11, 2018.
Brendan Mcdermid | Reuters

Here are the most important things to know about Friday before you hit the door.

Santa Claus rally continues

The last five trading days of the year tend to be positive for the stock market, a phenomenon known as the Santa Claus rally. Since 1950, the S&P 500 has gained an average of 1.3% during this time period, according to the Stock Trader's Almanac.

The market has been following the trend so far this year, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both setting record highs on Thursday. On Thursday, the Nasdaq topped the 9000 level for the first time.

S&P 500 nears best year since 1997

The S&P 500 has risen about 29% so far in 2019. That's the best mark since 2013, when the index gained 29.6%.

If the index can add an extra 0.6% or so, it'll be the best year of the 21st century. The next year up the ladder would be 1997, when the S&P 500 rose 31.01%.

New oil data arrives as prices rise

The next look into the oil market comes on Friday morning when the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas releases its quarterly energy survey and the U.S. Energy Information Administration releases its weekly status report.

Oil prices rose on Thursday, with both Brent crude and the West Texas Intermediate hitting their highest levels since mid-September. The climb comes amid optimism that trade tensions between the United States and China are cooling.

Friday's release from the EIA will cover the week ending Dec. 20. For the previous week, U.S. crude refinery inputs averaged 16.6 million barrels per day and crude oil inventories decreased by 1.1 million barrels.

Oil stocks were trading higher on Thursday, with Marathon Oil, ConocoPhillips, Occidental and Diamondback all up at least 0.5%.

Major events: (All times ET)

10:30 a.m. Dallas Fed energy survey

11:00 a.m. EIA weekly petroleum status report