Stock index futures pointed to a lower start Wednesday, following a day where the market snapped its winning streak, trading in a very small range.
Nonetheless it's all but certain stocks will end 2009 with their best yearly advances since 2003, and will end December with gains for the month.
The dollar edged higher to put pressure on commodity prices.
There's little on the economic calendar to move markets, and even less than normal on a Wednesday: the Mortgage Bankers Association, which ordinarily issues its weekly mortgage applications report on Wednesday, will not do so this time around because of the Christmas and New Year's holidays. Instead, it will report on two weeks' worth of data next Wednesday.
But the Chicago Purchase Managers Index for December arrives at 9:45 am New York time, with economists looking for a reading of 55.5. That would be below last month's reading of 56.1, but still well above the 50 mark that represents the dividing line between expansion and contraction.
The Treasury will conclude $118 billion in auctions this week with a sale of $32 billion in 7-year notes. As usual, the results will be available shortly after 1 pm.
In company news, lender GMACwill reportedly get another $3.5 billion in aid from the government, on top of the $12.5 billion it's already gotten. That's according to the Wall Street Journal. The Treasury will only say that it's in discussions with GMAC to ensure that its capital needs are met.
Broadcom could be a stock to watch today, as the chipmaker settled a class action lawsuit related to stock option backdating.
Microsoft also will be worth watching as Kaufman said it expects a "blowout" quarter for the company, raising its price target from $235 to $253.
And shares of Dow component Pfizer could be active, as it ends a late stage study of an experimental lung cancer drug, after it resulted in a higher rate of side effects among patients who took it compared to those who did not. Pfizer does say it did not end the trial for safety reasons.