S&P 500, Nasdaq Hit Intraday Records, Eye Weekly Gains
U.S. stock benchmarks rose on Friday in a shortened session centered on retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. as the Black Friday shopping holiday kicks off, a day after domestic markets were closed in observance of Thanksgiving.
What are the main benchmarks doing?
The New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq will close at 1 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, while the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association recommends a 2 p.m. Eastern close for bond markets. U.S. financial markets were closed Thursday in observance of Thanksgiving Day.
The S&P 500 SPX was up 4 points, or 0.2%, to 2,601, setting an intraday record shortly after the opening bell. Nearly all 11 main sectors were trading higher. Energy and materials shares were leading gains, following a jump in oil prices.
The Nasdaq Composite COMP advanced 12 points, or 0.2%, to 6,878.
Equity markets will close at 1 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, while the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association recommends a 2 p.m. Eastern close for bond markets.
For the week, the S&P 500 is on track to rise 0.9%, the Dow is on pace to post a weekly gain of 0.9%, while the Nasdaq is aiming for a 1.4% rise over the four-session trading period, according to FactSet data.
What could help drive markets?
Adobe Analytics data showed online shoppers spent $1.52 billion on Thanksgiving Day, with smartphones accounting for 46% of all traffic going to U.S. retail websites.
On the data front, a survey of purchasing managers showed that businesses grew in November at the slowest pace in four months. The Markit flash manufacturing PMI fell to 53.8 from 54.6, while the flash services PMI fell to 54.3 from 54.6. A reading of 50 or better indicates improving conditions.
Which stocks are in focus?
Bit department store chains such as Macy’s Inc. M and J.C. Penney& Co. JCP rallied, rising 2.2% and 1.8% respectively.
Kohl’s Corp KSS, another big-box retailer, also saw share rise more than 1%.
Gap, Inc.’s stock GPS, +2.57% gained 1.3% in early trade.
Amazon.com Inc. AMZN shares were up 1.2%, while Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT rose 0.6%.
Shares of Target Corp. TGT and eBay Inc. EBAY fell slightly.
General Electric GE shares climbed modestly, up 0.3%, after a Securities and Exchange Commission filing said board member James Tisch bought three million shares worth $53.7 million late Wednesday. That comes on the heels of a purchases of a total about $2 million in stock by the company’s new chief executive, John Flannery, and board member Francisco D’Souza, over the past week. GE shares closed at a 6 ½-year low on Nov. 21 amid disappointment over the conglomerate’s turnaround plan.
GE has lost 42% of its market value since the start of the year.
What are analysts saying?
“The pre-sales data indicate a better performance compared with last year; early numbers point at a solid 18% year-over-year increase in November sales so far. U.S. households’ holiday spending could increase as much as 4% compared with last year, according to Bloomberg news,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior market analyst at LCG.com.
Analysts are continuing to release their stock-market forecasts for the coming year. Strategists at Société Générale said in their outlook released Thursday that bullish investors may have a tough time in 2018.
“We expect stretched valuations and rising bond yields to limit equity index performances in 2018 and the prospect of a U.S. economic slowdown in 2020 to further cramp returns in 2019,” said a team led by Roland Kaloyan, head of European equity strategy.
What are other assets doing?
European stocks SXXP moved higher. In Asia ADOW stocks moved mostly higher, with China’s Shanghai Composite SHCOMP stabilizing after a losing streak.
Oil futures CLF8 climbed as investors kept watch on a pipeline disruption to a major crude-oil hub in the U.S. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY fell and gold futures GCZ7 were also weak.