Dow, S&P set to hit record highs; retailers in focus

Since the US election, the three main US indexes have hit all-time highs and closed at record levels multiple times in the past few days

Gulf News

BENGALURU: The S&P 500 and the Dow were poised to eke out enough gains to hit record highs on Black Friday, with the focus on retailers at the start of the crucial holiday shopping season.

Trading volumes are expected to be relatively thin, with the US stock market scheduled to close at 1pm. ET (1700 GMT).

The market was shut on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Since the US election, the three main US indexes have hit all-time highs and closed at record levels multiple times in the past few days, most recently on Wednesday, when industrials boosted the Dow and S&P to record-high closes.

“Trump’s stock market honeymoon continues as the indices push higher this morning, and the focus now shifts to holiday sales,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.

The holiday shopping season is crucial for retailer as it accounts for as much as 40 per cent of their annual sales. But they have been struggling to pull shoppers into stores as people increasingly prefer the ease and year-long deals available online.

The National Retail Federation, which has been overly optimistic with projections in the past, expects holiday sales to grow 3.6 per cent this year to $655.8 billion (Dh2.41 trillion).

Online spending surged almost 14 per cent to top $1 billion by Thanksgiving evening, according to Adobe Digital Index.

Shares of department store chain Macy’s rose 1.3 per cent to $45.49 in premarket trading after Chief Executive Terry Lundgren told CNBC that apparel sales picked up on Thanksgiving., Wal-Mart, Target and eBay were up between 0.4 per cent and 0.7 per cent.

Dow e-minis were up 58 points, or 0.3 per cent at 8.30am. ET (1330 GMT), with 40,613 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis were up 5.25 points, or 0.24 per cent, with 168,985 contracts changing hands.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 10.25 points, or 0.21 per cent, in volume of 25,009 contracts.

“At one point or another this market is going run into a brick wall, but right now it’s still being supported by the enthusiasm of Trump’s pro-growth programme,” Cardillo said.

China’s jumped 9.5 per cent to $44.89 after agreeing to buy UK travel search website Skyscanner in a deal valued at around $1.74 billion.

Johnson & Johnson edged up 0.4 per cent after Bloomberg reported on Thursday that the health care company had approached Swiss biotechnology firm Actelion about a potential takeover.

Meanwhile, oil prices fell 1.1 per cent amid uncertainty that the Opec would arrive at a decision to cut production during a meeting next week. The dollar was off 0.23 per cent.

— Reuters