Wall Street scored new records with slight gains on Friday in a quiet post-Thanksgiving session.
The S&P 500 rose 0.39%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.35%, and the Nasdaq was higher by 0.34%.
Stock markets closed early at 1 p.m. on Friday after being closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving. Trading volume was a fraction of normal activity. The S&P 500 saw roughly 160 million shares trading hands, far less than its 10-day average of 671 million shares.
The Dow and S&P 500 also secured new records on Wednesday after minutes from the Federal Reserve 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 0.4% against the euro, 0.13% against the Japanese yen, and 0.5% against the Mexican peso.
The U.S. dollar has risen strongly over October and November a rate hike became more likely in December. 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 likelihood 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 of the Organization of the 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 the production cuts, as they are hesitant to cede market share. The bloc reached a record 33.83 million barrels a day pumped last month. Members will meet again in Vienna on Nov. 30 to vote on the deal.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil was down 3.2% to $46.39 a barrel on Friday.
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 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.