The stock market meandered its way through an abbreviated session on Friday and scored modest gains to close out the week. The bulk of today's gains were registered shortly after the opening bell. After that, there was mostly sideways trading action.
Despite the modest gains, they were still good enough to propel the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite to new record highs.
Leadership throughout today's thinly-traded session was provided by the information technology sector (+0.5%), which was helped along by reports suggesting Broadcom (AVGO 282.38, +7.01, +2.6%) might return next week with an increased offer to acquire Qualcomm (QCOM 68.91, +0.78, +1.1%).
That news contributed to the outperformance of the semiconductor stocks, which was reflected in the 1.0% gain for the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index. Their leadership, and gains in the likes of Facebook (FB 182.78, +1.91, +1.1%) and Amazon.com (AMZN 1186.00, +29.84, +2.6%), served as the driving influences behind the Nasdaq's record run.
Amazon.com was a focal point throughout the day as it is thought by many to be in the best position to capitalize on Black Friday sales and holiday selling activity in general.
Early reports have made it sound like the online sales activity at least is off to a good start. Adobe Analytics reported that $1.52 billion was spent online by 5:00 p.m. ET on Thanksgiving Day, up 16.8% from last year, and that online sales as of 10:00 a.m. ET on Friday were up 18.4% year-over-year.
Amazon.com's stock strength, however, wasn't exclusive. Well-known retailers such as Macy's (M 21.07, +0.44, +2.1%), Best Buy (BBY 57.00, +0.51, +0.9%), Gap (GPS 29.64, +0.47, +1.6%), and Kohl's (KSS 45.09, +0.46, +1.0%) also exhibited relative strength. Their gains supported a 0.2% advance for the S&P 500 consumer discretionary sector.
Gains in the materials (+0.5%), real estate (+0.4%), and energy (+0.3%) sectors also helped prop up the broader market.
Elsewhere, oil prices jumped 1.5% to $58.87 per barrel. That move was aided by a weaker dollar, geopolitical angst, short-term supply disruptions tied to a Keystone pipeline outage, and speculation that OPEC and Russia are primed next week to agree to an extension of their oil production cut program.
The latter meeting will take place on Thursday and will be a key event in a week that will feature several key events, including Jerome Powell's Fed Chair confirmation hearing (Tuesday), current Fed Chair Janet Yellen's economic outlook testimony before the Joint Economic Committee (Wednesday), and an expected vote on the Senate's tax bill on Thursday.
In terms of this week, it was another winning week. The Russell 2000 led the way with a 1.8% gain, followed by the Nasdaq Composite, up 1.6%, the S&P Mid Cap 400, up 1.0%, the S&P 500, up 0.9%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average, up 0.8%.
Year-to-date returns are as follow:
- Nasdaq Composite +28.0%
- Dow Jones Industrial Average +19.1%
- S&P 500 +16.2%
- S&P Mid Cap 400 +12.0%
- Russell 2000 +11.9%