Retailers Push Dow, S&P to Record Highs on Black Friday


Wall Street's three main indexes closed at record highs on Friday, helped by gains in consumer staples and technology stocks as investors hunted for bargains in a post-election rally.

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The Dow Jones industrial average rose 68.96 points, or 0.36 percent, to 19,152.14, the S&P 500 gained 8.61 points, or 0.39 percent, to 2,213.33 and the Nasdaq Composite added 18.24 points, or 0.34 percent, to 5,398.92.

Since the U.S. election, the three main U.S. 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 percent 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 percent this year to $655.8 billion.

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

At 9:42 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 42.66 points, or 0.22 percent, at 19,125.84, after hitting 19,138.51.

The S&P 500 was up 3.33 points, or 0.15 percent, at 2,208.05. It hit a high of 2,209.39

The Nasdaq Composite was up 2.15 points, or 0.04 percent, at 5,382.83. The index is about 10 points away from its all-time high.

"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 program," Cardillo said.

Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors were trading higher, led by a 1.08 percent rise in utilities.

The laggards were led by the energy sector, which was pulled down by a 1.3 percent drop in oil prices amid uncertainty that the OPEC would arrive at a decision to cut production during a meeting next week.

Among non-retail stocks, China's jumped 9.5 percent to $44.89 after agreeing to buy UK travel search website Skyscanner in a deal valued at around $1.74 billion.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,461 to 1,136. On the Nasdaq, 1,101 issues fell and 1,096 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed 29 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 112 new highs and five new lows.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)