By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch , Ryan Vlastelica
Retailers in focus as Thanksgiving Day online sales soar
U.S. edged higher in a holiday-shortened session on Friday, with major indexes eking out new records in what was expected to be a quiet day of trading.
The uptrend in equities, which has been consistent since the presidential election earlier this month, appeared intact, with major indexes set for their third straight weekly advance. Trading volume was light, with many market participants out following the Thanksgiving holiday, for which U.S. markets were closed on Thursday. Despite that, the retail sector will be in focus as investors analyze the early reads on Black Friday, the start of the holiday shopping season.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 54 points, or 0.3%, to 19,137, while the S&P 500 rose 6 points, or 0.3%, to 2,210. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 12 points, or 0.2%, to 5,393.
All three indexes hit new records, as did the Russell 2000 index of small-cap shares, which rose 0.2% on the day.
"The Friday after Thanksgiving is typically an up day, as most people who wanted to sell ahead of a four-day weekend did so during the week, leaving only bargain hunters left in the market," said Wayne Kaufman, chief market analyst at Phoenix Financial Services. "There's typically an upside bias because of that, but once we get into next week and the sellers return, we could see some softness.
Need to know: Here's a Black Friday play as retail stocks take a different turn (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-a-black-friday-play-as-retail-stocks-take-a-different-turn-2016-11-25)
The Dow, S&P, and Nasdaq are all up about 1.2% for the week, with the Russell up 2%. Since the election, the S&P is up 3.2%, and it has risen in 11 of the past 14 session. The size and speed of the recent rally has some investors concerned that the gains may have gotten ahead of themselves.
"The three indicators I look at--market breadth, sentiment, and valuation--are all in areas where the market typically runs into some headwinds," Kaufman said. "Investors are hopeful that valuations are justified given the incoming administration."
The top-performing sectors on Friday were utilities and consumer staples--two industries that are viewed as defensive, in that they hold up better in times of economic underperformance.
Investors have bet that President-elect Donald Trump's economic proposals--including massive corporate tax cuts and financial and environmental deregulation--will spur higher levels of economic growth.
The day's gains were broad, with energy the only major S&P 500 sector to fall on the day, though financial shares were flat and flitted between positive and negative territory. Energy was pressured by a sharp drop in the price of crude oil.
Wall Street will observe a shortened day of trading on Friday, closing at 1 p.m. Eastern Time (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-when-markets-close-on-black-friday-2016-11-18), though most investors are expected to stay out of the action until Monday.
In the latest economic data, Markit's flash November purchasing manager's index (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-service-sector-growth-throttles-ahead-as-presidential-election-grinds-to-a-halt-markit-says-2016-11-25) stood at 54.7, down fractionally from October's 54.8, but still the second-strongest reading of the past 12 months.
Shoppers to aid rally momentum: The SPDR S&P Retail exchange-traded fund (XRT) flat on Friday. Online shopping on Thanksgiving Day itself delivered in $1.15 billion in sales, an increase of 13.6% over last yea (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-online-sales-tally-more-than-1-billion-on-thanksgiving-day-2016-11-25)r, according to Adobe Systems Inc. Of that revenue, $449 million came via a mobile devices -- 58.6% more than last year.
See also:This online retail ETF is already an outperformer ahead of Black Friday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/online-retail-etfs-rally-demonstrates-the-shift-from-brick-and-mortar-shopping-2016-09-20)
(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-a-black-friday-play-as-retail-stocks-take-a-different-turn-2016-11-25)Read:Stock market's record November shouldn't scare off a Santa Claus rally (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/stock-markets-record-november-points-to-strong-december-2016-11-23)
Among notable retailers, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) rose 0.6% while Amazon.com Inc(AMZN) was flat. Macy's Inc.(M) fell 0.6%.
Read:The charts say hot air, and little else, is pushing these markets higher (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-charts-say-hot-air-is-pushing-these-markets-higher-and-little-else-2016-11-23)
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 (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-24/j-j-said-to-make-takeover-approach-for-swiss-drugmaker-actelion) reported. Shares of Actelion surged 11% in Europe while J&J rose 0.9%.
Read: T-Mobile's accounting slammed by investor group in a letter to SEC (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/t-mobiles-accounting-slammed-by-investor-group-in-letter-to-sec-2016-11-23)
Other markets: Gold prices was unchanged on the day, while oil prices (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-drift-lower-but-analysts-caution-over-bets-against-opec-2016-11-25) fell 3.3% as investors watched for updates ahead of next week's Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting. The drop in crude oil weighed on energy shares, which fell 1%. Among major movers, Halliburton Co. (HAL) fell 1.1%.
Read: How an OPEC output deal could catapult U.S. producers back to stardom (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-an-opec-output-deal-could-catapult-us-producers-back-to-stardom-2016-11-23)
In a choppy, thin day of trading, the dollar pulled back from higher levels (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dollar-maintains-strength-as-yens-safe-haven-lure-wanes-2016-11-25) as investors decided to cash in on gains. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index eased 0.3% to 101.3.
The Nikkei 225 index tapped a 10-month high (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/japans-nikkei-stock-market-index-climbs-to-10-month-high-2016-11-24) as the yen weakened in Asian trading.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 25, 201612:16 ET (17:16 GMT)
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