By Yashaswini Swamynathan

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

(Reuters) - Wall Street looked set to open higher on Wednesday, with investors looking for catalysts that would nudge the Dow Jones Industrial Average beyond 20,000, a level it has never breached.

The blue-chip index came within 20 points of the psychological milestone on Tuesday, helped by gains in technology stocks, which also pushed the Nasdaq to a record high.

However, with year-end celebrations around the corner, trading volumes are likely to remain light.


U.S. equities have been riding a post-election rally, feeding on optimism that Donald Trump's policies would be business friendly, especially to banks and industrials. The rally has also been supported by a spate of strong economic data.

"Even in quiet times, crowd behavior often rules and many investors are looking forward to the new year," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

"There is still excitement about the bag of surprises that Donald Trump will bring."

Dow e-minis <1YMc1> were up 37 points, or 0.19 percent at 8:29 a.m. ET, with 10,084 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis <ESc1> were up 5.5 points, or 0.24 percent, with 47,708 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis <NQc1> were up 17.25 points, or 0.35 percent, on volume of 9,678 contracts.

The Dow, which has gained the most among the three major Wall Street indexes from the Trump rally, is on track to have its best yearly gains since 2013. The S&P 500 <.SPX> is set to register a double-digit rise this year, compared with a 0.7 percent decline in 2015.

The dollar index <.DXY> rose 0.44 percent and is on track for its best day since Dec. 15 after strong consumer confidence data on Tuesday lifted sentiment.

Shares of Qualcomm <QCOM.O> fell 1.2 percent to $66.42 after South Korean antitrust regulators fined the chipmaker 1.03 trillion won ($854 million) for what it called unfair business practices in patent licensing and modem chip sales.

Live Venture <LIVE.O>, the owner of internet marketing firm LiveDeal, rose 21.5 percent to $31.70 after saying that it expected 2017 revenue to increase over 50 percent.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)