US STOCKS-Nasdaq down as investors watch Black Friday sales, China infections
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Retailers in focus as Black Friday sales start
Activision down on likely FTC lawsuit to block Microsoft deal
Apple slips, Foxconn China plant sees lower shipments
(Updates prices to close; adds analyst comments)
By Carolina Mandl and Ankika Biswas
Nov 25 (Reuters) – The Nasdaq closed lower on Friday with pressure from Apple Inc in a subdued trading session for Wall Street’s main stock indexes.
Apple slipped on news of reduced iPhone shipments in November from a Foxconn plant in China as production was hit by COVID-related worker unrest.
The holiday-shortened trading session focused on retailers as Black Friday sales kicked off against the backdrop of stubbornly high inflation and cooling economic growth.
Shoppers were expected to turn out in record numbers to shop for Black Friday deals, but with inclement weather, crowds outside stores were thin on the traditionally busiest shopping day of the year.
U.S. retail stocks have become a barometer of consumer confidence as inflation bites. Year-to-date the S&P 500 retail index is down a little over 30%, while the S&P 500 is down 15% so far this year.
Shares of retailers Target Corp, Macy’s Inc and Best Buy Co Inc were mixed, while the S&P consumer discretionary index was slightly up.
“It’s such a low volume trading day as most people are at home that I never count Friday after Thanksgiving,” said Ed Cofrancesco, chief executive officer at International Assets Advisory, in Orlando.
Starting next week, the focus will be on retail sales, China’s newest COVID outbreak and the Federal Reserve’s next steps, he added.
Wall street’s main indexes have rallied strongly since hitting their early October lows, with the S&P 500 up more than 15% on a boost from a better-than-expected earnings season and more recently on hopes of less aggressive interest rates hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Expectations are now of a 75.8% chance that the Fed will increase its key benchmark rate by 50 basis points in December, with the rates seen peaking in June 2023.
Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 152.97 points, or 0.45%, to 34,347.03, the S&P 500 lost 1.14 points, or 0.03%, to 4,026.12 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 58.96 points, or 0.52%, to 11,226.36.
Weighing on Nasdaq, Activision Blizzard Inc fell on a media report that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission was likely to file an antitrust lawsuit to block Microsoft Corp’s $69 billion takeover bid for the video game publisher.
U.S. stock markets closed at 1 p.m. ET on Friday, after being closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving. (Reporting by Ankika Biswas and Shubham Batra in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Richard Chang)