NEW YORK: Technology stocks have led the S&P 500 and Nasdaq to record closing highs, with the S&P ending above 2,600 points for the first time, while Amazon and retail stocks got a boost from signs of a strong start to the holiday shopping season.
The benchmark S&P 500 and the blue-chip Dow Jones industrials posted weekly gains for the first time in three weeks while the Nasdaq Composite posted its best weekly performance since the week to September 1.
The stock market had a half-session on what is known as Black Friday, the day after the Thanksgiving holiday and the unofficial start of the US holiday shopping season.
US stores offered deep discounts, entertainment and gifts to draw bargain hunters, but some shoppers said they were just eyeing goods, reserving their cash for online purchases.
On Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, US shoppers spent more than $US2.87 billion ($A4.02 billion) online, according to Adobe Analytics.
Adobe, which measures 80 per cent of online transactions at the largest 100 US web retailers, forecast online Black Friday sales of $US5 billion, which would be a record high. Online retailers could rake in an additional $US6.6 billion on Cyber Monday.
The S&P retail index rose 0.75 per cent and hit a record intraday high, led by Amazon’s 2.6 per cent gain.
Brick-and-mortar stores, which have been boosting their online presence, also fared well.
The Dow rose 0.14 per cent to 23,557.99, while the S&P gained 0.21 per cent, to 2,602.42, and the Nasdaq added 0.32 per cent, to 6,889.16.
LONDON: British shares on Friday ended Black Friday just slightly lower, with Paddy Power leading winners against a strong pound, which was poised to rise for a third consecutive week amid growing hopes that Brexit talks could bear fruit in December.
British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday in Brussels renewed her wish to make a joint move with the European Union to open negotiations on a post-Brexit trade deal.
A stronger pounds tends to weigh on heavyweight US dollar earning companies in the index such as miners.
Housebuilders were among the top FTSE decliners on Friday after UK mortgage approvals sank to a 13-month low.
The FTSE closed down 0.10 per cent at 7,409.64 points, leaving it up about 0.4 per cent on the week.
European shares ended little changed, underpinned by gains among heavyweight financial stocks, which helped the pan-European STOXX 600 index snap a two-week losing streak.
The STOXX 600 ended 0.1 per cent down but rose 0.7 per cent on the week, while the export-heavy German DAX index advanced 0.39 per cent, to 13,059.84, shrugging off strength in the euro.
The growing prospect of a grand coalition in Germany boosted sentiment that had kept the DAX stuck around the 13,000-point level for the past two weeks.
TOKYO: Asian shares hovered just below their 10-year peak on Friday.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.2 per cent, while Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.12 per cent to 22,550.85.
Hong Kong shares bucked the softness in the mainland shares with the Hang Seng gaining gain 0.53 per cent, to 29,866.32, and recording a fourth week of gains, as mainland shares showed signs of stabilising after Thursday’s tumble.
China’s main Shanghai Composite index closed up 0.06 per cent at 3,353.8207 points while its blue-chip CSI300 index ended up 0.04 per cent.
WELLINGTON: The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 0.4 per cent to 8130.29.