US STOCKS-Wall Street fights to extend two-day rally

(For a live blog on the U.S. stock market, click LIVE/ ortype LIVE/ in an Eikon news window.)

* Indexes up: Dow 0.09 pct, S&P 0.16 pct, Nasdaq 0.28 pct

* Financials gain, energy drops

* Wall St set to snap three straight weeks of losses (Updates to early afternoon)

By Medha Singh

Dec 28 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks flitted between gains andlosses on Friday, struggling to extend their rally to a thirdstraight day and cap a week that is on pace to snap a three-weeklosing streak.

The week started off with Wall Street's worst-ever ChristmasEve drop, followed by Dow Jones Industrial Average's .DJI record 1,000-plus point surge on Wednesday and a stunningreversal late on Thursday that ensured two days of gains.

The trend continued on Friday, but the extent of the swingswere relatively small, with the S&P 500 rising as much as 0.78percent before dropping 0.64 percent to a session low.

Supporting the market were the financial .SPSY andconsumer discretionary .SPLRCD sectors, up about 0.5 percenteach. Technology stocks .SPLRCT , whose index-weight has aheavy influence on the market, see-sawed through the day, andwere last up 0.11 percent.

The S&P energy sector .SPNY spent most of the day in thered, last down 0.66 percent as crude oil prices came underpressure from profit-taking. O/R

"We're seeing some big moves today, and I expect the wildride to continue, like the ones we've seen in the last couple oftrading days," said Ryan Nauman, market strategist at InformaFinancial Intelligence in Zephyr Cove, Nevada.

"Since the beginning of October, investors are moredefensive. Rather than buying the dip, they are selling therally. They are looking to take gains when they can," Naumanadded.

Weighing on sentiment was a report that contracts to buypreviously owned homes fell unexpectedly in November, the latestsign of weakness in the U.S. housing market.

At 12:51 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 21.64 points, or 0.09 percent, at 23,160.46, while theS&P 500 .SPX was up 4.00 points, or 0.16 percent, at 2,492.83.The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 18.46 points, or 0.28percent, at 6,597.96.

While a run of three weeks of losses looked set to end, thethree indexes are still down about 9 percent for December and ontrack for their biggest annual percentage drop since 2008.

Investors head into 2019 with a list of worries ranging fromU.S.-China trade tensions, rising interest rates and a coolingeconomy to a partial U.S. government shutdown that started onSaturday.

Among stocks, Tesla IncTSLA.O jumped 4.86 percent afterthe electric carmaker named two new independent board directors.

Dell Technologies IncDELL.N returned to the stock marketnearly six years after founder Michael Dell took the computermaker private. The stock opened at $46 and was last at $44.78.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.63-to-1 ratioon the NYSE and a 1.98-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

There were no new 52-week highs or lows on the S&P, whilethe Nasdaq recorded five new highs and 61 new lows. (Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silvaand Sriraj Kalluvila) ((; within U.S. +1646 223 8780,outside U.S. +91 80 6749 1130; Reuters

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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