US stocks mixed; Black Friday sales in focus in shortened trading day

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US stocks mixed; Black Friday sales in focus in shortened trading day -- U.S. stocks traded in a mixed fashion Friday in thin trading, at the start of a shortened trading day.

By 09:30 ET (14:30 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average  rose 75 points, or 0.2%, the S&P 500 traded largely flat, while the NASDAQ Composite dropped 10 points, or 0.1%.

These major averages are all on pace for hefty monthly gains, as economic data has tended to fuel optimism that the Federal Reserve's campaign of interest rate hikes may have peaked.

The Nasdaq has rallied 11% so far in November. The DJIA has advanced nearly 7%, and the S&P 500 is up more than 8%.

The news that Israel and Hamas are set to start a four-day truce today, with the release of a first group of 13 Israeli women and child hostages expected later in the day, has also helped sentiment.

PMIs headline the data slate

There’s little on the economic data slate Friday, although the November manufacturing and services purchasing managers' indices from financial information group S&P Global (NYSE: SPGI ) will attract some attention.

These indices are often seen as proxies for economic activity in the world's largest economy, with the manufacturing PMI expected to have dipped to 49.8, down from 50.0 in October, the mark that separates contraction from expansion. The services PMI is seen falling to 50.4, down from 50.6 the prior month.

The equivalent data from the eurozone, released earlier Friday, suggested the bloc's economy will contract again this quarter as consumers continue to rein in spending, likely resulting in a mild recession in one the U.S.’s major trading partners as the year ends.

Black Friday launches sales spree

The retail sector will be in the spotlight during the session, as today is Black Friday, the annual sales spree that typically kicks the crucial holiday shopping season into full gear. 

A record 130.7 million people are expected to shop in-store and online in the U.S. on Black Friday this year, according to a survey conducted in early November by the National Retail Federation, a U.S. retail trade group..

However, with many shoppers facing financial pressure, U.S. holiday spending is expected to rise at the slowest pace in five years. 

Elsewhere, Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA ) stock fell 0.8% after the chipmaker delayed the launch of its new artificial intelligence chip, the H20, in China, a product designed to comply with U.S. export rules.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) stock fell 0.4% after data from Counterpoint Research indicated that the tech giant saw a decline in the number of smartphones sold during China's recent Singles Day shopping festival, lagging domestic rivals Huawei and Xiaomi (HK: 1810 ) which recorded robust increases.

Vista Outdoor (NYSE: VSTO ) stock jumped 2.6% after the American sporting goods firm announced that it had received an unsolicited cash-and-stock merger offer from Czech gunmaker Colt CZ Group.

Oil mixed ahead of OPEC+ meeting

Oil prices retreated Friday, but remained on course for the first positive week in five ahead of next week’s OPEC+ meeting to discuss future output levels. 

By 09:30 ET, the U.S. crude futures traded 1.2% lower at $76.17 a barrel, while the Brent contract was 0.2% lower at $81.27 a barrel. Both contracts were up over 0.5% for the week, gaining after an extended rout brought prices to near four-month lows.

Traders still expect the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, including Russia, a group known as OPEC+, to agree to more supply cuts to boost prices.

However, the OPEC+ meeting was delayed to Nov. 30, having originally been scheduled for Sunday, prompting speculation of disagreements between member countries over planned production cuts.

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.2% to $1,996.40/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% higher at 1.0909.



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