Will stocks break another all-time high before the year ends?
Here are 4 tips for today's trading. This will help you decide where you should invest and what to look for:
1. Stocks near 2016 record levels
U.S. stock futures are rising again, giving the Dow Jones industrial average one more shot at hitting the desirable 20,000 points level before the year ends.
The Dow has been flirting with the 20,000 mark for weeks and reached its highest ever level - 19,988 - on December 20. It's currently sitting at 19,820, which is nearly 14% higher than where it started 2016.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq are also just a touch below their all-time records. The S&P 500 has run up by 10% and the Nasdaq has rallied by 8.5% since the start of the year.
Unlike its American counterparts, China’s stock market closed out 2016 with its worst performance in five years.
The Shanghai Composite ended the year earlier on Friday with an annual loss of 12.3%, compared to gains of 9.4% in 2015, making that its worst reading since 2011.
Chinese shares spent most of 2016 recovering from a brutal January, sparked in part by fears of a hard landing for the economy.
Still, stocks in the world’s second largest economy bounced back around 17% from a February low, bolstering hopes that the worst may be over.
2. Global market overview
European markets look set to end the year lower after slipping in early trading.
Russian stock markets are mixed after President Barack Obama sanctioned a number of Russian individuals and entities and ordered 35 Russian diplomats to leave the country. The White House took the retaliatory step over Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 election.
It's worth noting that Russian stock markets were among the best performing in the world this year. Investors expect President-elect Donald Trump will warm up frosty U.S. relations with Russia.
Looking to Asia, the markets are closing the day with mixed results.
3. Italian banks find support
Italian bank stocks have been holding steady after the European Commission extended a program to support liquidity at the banks.
"This means that regardless of circumstances banks will have no difficulties in funding their operations and deposit access will be ensured at all times," a Commission spokesperson said in a written statement.
Investors have been concerned about Italy's struggling banking sector, which has been burdened by high levels of bad debts. Monte dei Paschi - the weakest of the bunch - is negotiating a government bailout.
4. Gold hits 3-week high on weaker dollar
Gold prices rose to a 3-week high on Friday, as the U.S. dollar continued to pull back against major rivals, boosting the appeal of the yellow metal.
Gold for February delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose to a session peak of $1,164.25 a troy ounce, a level not seen since December 9.
It was last at $1,160.95 at 10:46GMT, up $2.85, or 0.25%, adding to a gain of $17.00, or 1.49%, a day earlier. Prices of the yellow metal sank to an 11-month low of $1,124.30 earlier in December.
Gold has rebounded almost 3% from that trough and is logging gains of more than 9% for the year.