Stocks traded well into the green Nov. 24 as retailers and consumers alike prepared for the busiest shopping season of the year during a shortened Black Friday trading session.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 63 points, or 0.27%. The S&P 500 Index rose 6 points, or 0.24%, and the Nasdaq increased 18 points or 0.26%. Both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq opened to record intraday highs.
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 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 indicate 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. 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 Walmart had the best initial traffic in the New York area, while Target Corp. (TGT) stores were a little quiet after initial lines trickled out. Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) stores were largely empty, Sozzi found.
Sozzi said, "in talking to shoppers, it has become apparent that the in-store deals by retailers are bordering on terrible." Many of the promotions that have traditionally driven traffic in-store are being offered online.
2017: the year #BlackFriday died (in stores made from bricks, that is)— Brian Sozzi (@BrianSozzi) November 24, 2017
This year is shaping up to be a very strong outing for gaming. Sales of Nintendo (NTDOY) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) gaming consoles are expected to surge, meaning entertainment and gaming developer names including Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI) and Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) could be poised for a strong close to the year.
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The SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT) gained 0.49% Friday. The fund has traded lower more than 5% since the beginning of the year as ecommerce upends traditional retail models.
IHS Markit said that the PMI Composite Flash reading covering both the manufacturing and services sectors fell to 54.6 in November, from the prior reading of 55.2. A reading above 50 indicates expansion, whereas a reading below 50 indicates contraction.
The economic calendar in the U.S. Friday also includes the weekly Baker Hughes Rig Count at 1 p.m.
New York-listed shares of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA) were sharply higher 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 more than 62% since the beginning of 2017. Teva stock pushed higher 1.43% Friday.
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 1.33% to $58.79 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) gained 0.43% Friday.