LONDON (ShareCast) – US stocks were rising on Wednesday on a day with very little economic data. Early in the day the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 0.18% to 18,015.77, the S&P 500 rose by 0.13% while Nasdaq dropped by 0.29%.

“Despite minor losses yesterday, the index looks certain to close at this level, barring a disastrous set of figures this afternoon, as the US announces its unemployment claims, Chicago PMI and pending home sales. If the Dow can weather these numbers it will enter 2015 in a very strong position indeed,” financial analyst from Spreadex Connor Campbell said.

Barclays Research added: “The Chicago PMI index fell to 58.3 in December (previous: 60.8), a slightly larger decline than we (59.5) and the consensus (60.0) had expected.” “Softer December regional PMI readings suggest business investment cooled late in the quarter, though quarterly aggregates are consistent with our view that manufacturing activity has continued to expand in Q4.” “Friday’s release of the December ISM manufacturing index (forecast: 57.0, consensus: 57.5) should provide a clearer picture of overall national manufacturing sentiment at year-end.” Crude futures were receding early in the day as WTI crude futures opened around 1.102% down to $ 53.53 a barrel, while Brent futures opened on a dip of about 0.854% down to $ 57.41 a barrel.

Campbell noted: “Brent Crude oil had no chance of ending 2014 on a high, as poor Chinese manufacturing figures adding to the ever growing pile of the commodity’s woes, woes that could increase further with the volatility-inducing US crude oil inventory figures this afternoon.” “As Brent Crude remains at its $ 57.5 per barrel level, 2015 is currently providing no rosy future for the commodity, as its ‘allies’ refuse to help its prices rise.” Over on COMEX, gold futures were falling 0.75% to $ 1,191.40 while the dollar was flailing against the pound but advancing against the yen and the euro.

The yield on a benchmark US 10-year Treasury was receding by one basis point to 2.18%.

Meanwhile, in the corporate world Home Depot was soaring by 1.29% while Coca-Cola was plummeting 0.65% to 47.52.