Wall Street mixed amid Black Friday sales

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The benchmark S&P 500 rose slightly, with the focus on retailers as Black Friday sales kicked off amid stubbornly high inflation and slowing economic growth.

Shoppers were expected to turn out in record numbers to pick up Black Friday deals, but with inclement weather thin crowds were seen outside stores on what has always been the day busiest shopping event of the year.

US retail stocks have become a barometer of consumer confidence as inflation bites.

The retail S&P 500 index slid 0.1% on Friday, taking its year-to-date losses to just over 30%, while the S&P 500 is down 15% so far this year.

“We’re going to have a higher than expected Black Friday sales number. The reason I think that’s the case is that US consumer strength is still way too weak with full employment and significant cash savings,” said Phil Blancato, Managing Director. of Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management in New York.

Stocks of retailers Target Corp, Macy’s Inc and Best Buy Co Inc were mixed while the S&P Consumer Discretionary Index rose 0.3%.

Wall Street’s major indexes have rallied strongly since hitting lows in early October, with the S&P 500 up more than 15% on the back of a better-than-expected earnings season and more recently hopes for increases. less aggressive interest rate cuts by the US Federal Reserve. .

The Fed is now expected to raise its benchmark policy rate by 50 basis points in December with a 63.5% chance, with rates expected to peak in June 2023.

In early trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 152.42 points, or 0.45%, to 34,346.48, with shares of UnitedHealth Group Inc and Home Depot Inc providing the biggest boost.

The S&P 500 rose 3.41 points, or 0.08%, to 4,030.67, while the Nasdaq Composite slipped 36.70 points, or 0.33%, to 11,248.61.

Weighing in on the Nasdaq, Activision Blizzard Inc fell 4.2% following a media report that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission was likely to file an antitrust complaint to block the takeover bid for Microsoft Corp of $69 billion (A$102 billion) for video games. editor.

Apple Inc fell 1.6% after it announced reduced iPhone shipments in November from a Foxconn factory in China.

U.S. stock markets will close early, at 1 p.m. ET, on Friday after being closed Thursday for Thanksgiving.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.84-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.32-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 16 new 52-week highs and no new lows while the Nasdaq recorded 39 new highs and 42 new lows.

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