Stock Futures Edge Up Ahead of Shortened Trading Day


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U.S. stock futures ticked up, with trading likely to be subdued following Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday.

Contracts tied to the S&P 500 rose 1% while Dow Jones Industrial Average futures added 0.2%. Nasdaq-100 futures slipped 0.2%. U.S. stock markets will close early at 1 p.m. ET, while bond markets will shut at 2 p.m. ET.

Investors will be watching Black Friday crowds for clues on how spending among U.S. consumers is holding up amid high inflation and rising borrowing costs. Recent economic data has suggested consumers continue to spend, but analysts have a mixed outlook for the crucial holiday period.

S&P Global Market Intelligence expects holiday sales to rise 4.5% this year, slowing from last year’s 12.6% pace but still above prepandemic levels. 

“In the U.S., we could have an OK holiday season,” said

Peter Garnry,

head of equity strategy at Saxo Bank. 

But adjusting for inflation, holiday sales are expected to decline for the first time since 2009, according to S&P Global, suggesting that people are buying fewer, higher-priced items. 

“It was very easy in the first stage of inflation because there was this buildup of savings,” said Mr. Garnry. “We’ve eaten through that surplus and now we’re getting to the more difficult stage of this inflation shock.”

Nevertheless, U.S. stocks have historically done well on Black Friday. The S&P 500 has risen in 50 of the last 71 Black Friday trading sessions, according to Dow Jones Market Data. But it is also often subdued as traders take the day off to extend their Thanksgiving holiday. The S&P 500’s average Black Friday gain is 0.3% since 1950.

U.S. Treasury yields ticked higher. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 3.716% on Friday from 3.708% on Wednesday. Yields rise as prices fall.

Treasury yields have edged lower in recent days as investors bet that the Federal Reserve will slow the pace of interest-rate increases amid signs that inflation is slowing.

Those expectations have also weighed on the U.S. dollar, which closed Thursday at its lowest level since Aug. 17. The WSJ Dollar Index rebounded Friday, gaining 0.3%.

In commodity markets, oil prices rose as European Union leaders continued to discuss a price cap mechanism intended to crimp Russian oil revenues. Brent crude futures were up 1.6% to $86.62 a barrel.

Traders worked on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange last week.


Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Stocks overseas were mixed. The Stoxx Europe 600 edged up 0.1% while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 index added 0.2%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.5% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 edged down 0.2%. China’s Shanghai Composite was an outlier in Asia, rising 0.4% even as the country imposed new lockdowns to contain its largest Covid-19 outbreak yet.

Write to Chelsey Dulaney at [email protected]

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