Stock futures pointed toward a strong opening for Wall Street on Friday, Nov. 24, as retailers and consumers alike prepared for the busiest shopping season of the year during a shortened Black Friday trading session.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures gained 55 points, or 0.23%. S&P 500 Index futures rose 8 points, or 0.29%, and Nasdaq futures increased 11 points or 0.18%.
U.S. stock markets will close Friday at 1 p.m. ET, three hours earlier than normal.
Stock in the U.S. ended mixed on Wednesday, Nov. 22, after the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's most recent meeting showed the central bank is still concerned about the pace of inflation, but remains optimistic about U.S. economic growth overall.
Early Black Friday statistics indicated retailers have a robust sales day teed up. Before Thanksgiving leftovers were cold, shoppers had shoveled over more $1.5 billion online, according to Adobe Analytics, which tracks online transactions at the top 100 U.S. retailers.
Unique this year appears to be the share of sales made on smartphones. As of 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, a record 46% of all traffic to retail sites was made on smartphones. That's a 17% increase from Thanksgiving last year.
Sozzi said he found Walmart had the best initial traffic in the New York area, while Target Corp. (TGT - Get Report) stores were a little quiet after initial lines trickled out. Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) stores were largely empty, Sozzi found.
This year is shaping up to be a very strong outing for gaming. Sales of Nintendo (NTDOY) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT - Get Report) gaming consoles are expected to surge, meaning entertainment and gaming developer names including Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI - Get Report) and Electronic Arts Inc. (EA - Get Report) could be poised for a strong close to the year.
- 10 Holiday Shopping Days Less Hectic Than Black Friday
- Activision Blizzard, Walmart and Microsoft - Best Black Friday Deals for Gamers
The economic calendar in the U.S. on Friday includes the PMI Composite Flash for November at 9:45 a.m. ET, and the weekly Baker Hughes Rig Count at 1 p.m.
Shares of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA - Get Report) were sharply higher ahead of the market open Friday amid reports that the world's biggest generic drugmaker is getting ready to implement massive job cuts in both the United States and its home market of Israel.
Israel's Calcalist, a financial news website, reported Thursday that Teva was preparing to lay off more than 10% of its U.S.-based workers -- and as much as 25% globally -- amid slumping profits the company has previously linked to falling prices for generic drugs in key markets.
Israel's Economy Minister Eli Cohen told Reuters news that the job cut numbers were "not accurate," but didn't dispute that layoffs were on the way. Teva has had a rough year, with shares tumbling over 62% since the beginning of 2017. In premarket trading Friday, Teva stock pushed higher 4.3%.
Tesla Inc. (TSLA - Get Report) stock was gaining 0.85% in premarket trading Friday after the company successfully built the world's largest battery in less than 100 days, following through on a promise from CEO Elon Musk.
Musk, back in July, bet the people of Australia that he could build a 100MW battery in 100 days or it would be free. The South Australian government announced Friday the completion of the world's largest lithium-ion battery. In a statement, the office of state premier Jay Weatherill confirmed the battery would be energized within days, CNET reported.
Crude oil prices hit a fresh two-year high Friday following the closure of the 590,000 barrel-per-day Keystone pipeline connecting Canadian oilfields with the United States last week. West Texas Intermediate crude futures for December delivery jumped higher 1.21% to $58.72 on Friday. Global benchmark Brent crude earlier diverged into the red, but had gained 0.22% to $63.69 early Friday.
Investors appeared to remain optimistic that OPEC will extend production cuts when it meets Nov. 30. The group in January reached a deal to slash production through March 2018, but the expected continuation would push the expiry date for production cuts further out. The Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE - Get Report) gained 0.44% Friday.