Stocks edged higher on Friday, on track to post another record session, in a quieter session after the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S.
The S&P 500 rose 0.25%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.28%, and the Nasdaq was higher by 0.19%. The S&P 500 and Dow set intraday record highs.
The Dow and S&P 500 secured new records on Wednesday after minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's meeting in November confirmed expectations for an interest rate hike in December. Federal Reserve members have recently taken a hawkish turn as labor market strength has held and inflation has moved toward the Fed's 2% target.
The U.S. trade deficit widened in October more than expected. The Census Bureau reported a $62 billion trade deficit last month after a deficit of $56.5 billion in September. Analysts anticipated a deficit of $59.7 billion.
The U.S. dollar fell back from gains made earlier in the week as a Federal Reserve-inspired rally ran out of steam. The U.S. dollar fell 0.5% against the euro, 0.25% against the Japanese yen, and 0.5% against the Mexican peso.
The U.S. dollar has risen strongly over October and November as December became more likely for a rate hike. The chances of a December rate hike from the central bank was bolstered earlier this week after the minutes from the Fed's November meeting indicated an interest rate hike could come "relatively soon." Proposed infrastructure spending plans from President-elect Donald Trump also raised the prospect of higher inflation, pushing the rate of future rate increases higher.
"If economic data continues to remain positive coupled with Donald Trump's promise of a fiscal spending spree next year, inflation could rise faster than the market or the Fed currently projects," said Fawad Razaqzada, technical analyst at FOREX.com. "Thus, the Fed's tightening cycle could be more aggressive than expected. This could help keep the dollar underpinned, especially against currencies where the central bank is still dovish, like the Japanese yen."
Crude oil moved lower on Friday as investors awaited next week's meeting among Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Major oil-producing nations met earlier in the week, though the likelihood of a production freeze agreement large enough to tackle global oversupply remains unclear.
OPEC aims to limit production to 32.5 million to 33 million barrels a day, though some countries have reportedly expressed resistance to their level of involvement in production cuts, hesitant to cede market share. The bloc reached a record 33.83 million barrels a day last month. Members will meet again in Vienna on Nov. 30 to vote on the deal.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil was down 1.7% to $47.17 a barrel on Friday morning.
Stock markets will close early at 1 p.m. on Friday after being closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving.
Early indicators suggested a healthy turnout for the Black Friday shopping weekend. Online sales on Thanksgiving Day rose 13.6% to $1.15 billion, Adobe Digital Insights data showed. Mobile shopping contributed to a heft of that growth, rising 58.6% from the year earlier.
Target (TGT) was one retailer that confirmed it had a "surge" in online traffic on Thanksgiving Day. The retailer is on track to "deliver on its goal of double-digit percentage online sales growth for the holidays," said Target Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell in a conference call on Thursday evening.
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) moved slightly higher on reports it had offered Swiss biotech company Actelion (ALIOF) a buyout offer. The New Jersey-based multinational reportedly offered Actelion a deal worth around $17 billion, according to Bloomberg.