S&P 500 stock index futures edged higher on Wednesday as traders looked to extend four days of gains that drove the S&P 500 to levels reached just before Lehman Brothers went bankrupt two years ago.
Despite technical indicators pointing to an overbought market after the S&P 500 climbed over 6 percent this month, interest from institutional investors could sustain a thinly traded market through the holiday period.
They're just trying to close out the year well, said Wayne Kaufman, chief market analyst at John Thomas Financial in New York. A lot of the bearish patterns or indicators over the last few weeks have failed, and a failed bearish setup is very bullish.
In premarket trading, materials and banking stocks, sectors that have helped lead the recent rally, were stronger. Bank of American Corp
S&P 500 futures rose 0.3 point and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 2 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures fell 2.75 points.
The S&P 500 is within striking distance of 1,255.08, a level seen before the Lehman collapse in September 2008 and an important psychological barrier for investors.
Resource-related stocks will be in focus as crude oil futures topped $90 a barrel after data showed a drop in U.S. oil and gasoline inventories amid a winter cold snap in the United States and Europe.
In corporate news, Nike Inc
Geopolitics is a wild card. South Korea announced military exercises, including its largest-ever live-fire drill near North Korea just as tensions on the peninsula were beginning to ease after Pyongyang's attack on a southern island.
U.S. economic growth was a touch stronger than previously estimated in the third quarter, but consumer spending was softer.
(Reporting by Edward Krudy; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)