With few headlines to drive trading in a shortened post-holiday session, the major U.S. equity averages finished Friday’s action with a mixed performance. The uncertainty came as the market finished early after a day off on Thursday for Thanksgiving.
The Nasdaq Composite (COMP.IND) ended -0.5%, the S&P 500 (SP500) posted a fractional loss and the Dow (DJI) finished +0.5%.
In keeping with the mixed finish, sectors experienced sluggish action during the session. Seven of the 11 S&P sectors finished higher. However, no segment posted a move of more than 1% in either direction. Utilities, Real Estate and Health Care drifted up, while Communication Services and Info Tech ticked lower.
Trading took place amid an absence of real catalysts. Also, the holiday atmosphere limited participation, with traders mostly setting the stage for next week.
“The loosening in financial conditions is not going unnoticed with central banks. Their pushback is becoming more vocal,” ING said. “Next week’s events will be a crucial test for the sustainability of the rally in rates, which looks to have its roots not just in markets’ fundamental reassessments but is also seeing technical factors at play.”
With Black Friday marking the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, the National Retail Federation released its projection for this crucial part of the year. The organization said it expected holiday shopping to see an increase of 6% to 8%. This would represent a slowdown compared to last year, when retailers saw a 13.5% jump.
Looking to the bond market, action was muted there as well. The 10-year Treasury yield (US10Y) slipped about a basis point to 3.70% and the 2-year yield (US2Y) edged down less than a basis point to 4.48%.
Among active stocks, Manchester United continued its recent upswing, pushing to a new 52-week high on ongoing takeover speculation.