By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch

Retailers in focus as Thanksgiving Day online sales soar

Wall Street stocks were poised to break out to new highs in a holiday-shortened session on Friday, with the retail sector in focus as Black Friday shopping kicked off.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 55 points, or 0.3%, to 19,109, while S&P 500 futures added 4.45 points, or 0.2%, to 2,205.25. Nasdaq-100 tacked on 7.5 points, or 0.2%, to 4,857.

Stock futures, often used as a gauge for how stocks will open, hinted that equities may have another run at new territory on Friday. Futures rose modestly on Thursday, with regular trading closed for the Thanksgiving Day holiday. On Wednesday, the Dow industrials closed at a fresh high ( of 19,083.18, while the S&P 500 index finished at a record 2,204.72. That marked the third-straight record close for those indexes.

With one session remaining, the S&P 500 and Dow industrials were up around 1% each for the week.

Wall Street will observe a shortened day of trading on Friday, closing at 1 p.m. Eastern Time (, though most investors are expected to stay out of the action until Monday.

Shoppers to aid rally momentum: The extra momentum needed for blue-chip stocks to push higher may come from Black Friday, said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior market analyst at London Capital Group. Promotions around the Thanksgivingholiday make it one of the biggest shopping days of the year, she noted.

Online shopping on Thanksgiving Day itself delivered in $1.15 billion in sales, an increase of 13.6% over last year, according to Adobe Digital Insights. Of that revenue, $449 million came via a mobile device -- 58.6% more than last year.

Ozkardeskaya said investors should expect higher volumes and more volatility on shares of retailers and e-commerce giants such as Inc. (AMZN) , Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (BABA) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT).

"Nonetheless, traders should also be prepared [for] downside risks, given that Black Friday has already been broadly priced in," she said in a note to clients. Ozkardeskaya added that if a bump for retailers evaporates in buy-the-rumor-sell-the-fact action, that could bite into U.S. stocks later.

Outside of retailers, shares of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) could be in focus.The health care company has approached Swiss biotech group Actelion Ltd. (ATLN.EB) about a possible takeover, Bloomberg ( reported. Shares of Actelion rose 11% in Europe.

Economic docket: Investors will get data on advance trade in goods for October at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. A preliminary reading on the Markit services purchasing managers index for November is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. Eastern Time.

Other markets: In a choppy, thin day of trading, the dollar pulled back from higher levels ( as investors decided to cash in on gains. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index eased to 101.46 from 101.61 late Thursday.

The Nikkei 225 index tapped a 10-month high ( as the yenweakened in Asian trading.

Gold prices remained under moderate pressure, down $3.60, or 0.3%, to $1,185.70 an ounce. Oil prices ( fell as investors watched for updates ahead of next week's Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting.

Read: How an OPEC output deal could catapult U.S. producers back to stardom (


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 25, 2016 05:55 ET (10:55 GMT)

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