Wall Street stocks have advanced, with the Nasdaq closing at a record high in a holiday-shortened week as retailers kicked off the year-end shopping season amid record COVID-19 hospitalisations.
The Nasdaq outperformed as investors favoured tech-related, market-leading stocks that have fared well during the pandemic, while economically sensitive cyclical stocks weighed.
All three indices rose for the week, in which the S&P 500 reached a new closing high and the blue-chip Dow ended above 30,000 for the first time.
“It’s an abbreviated session and volume is light, so the only conclusion is that the rally is not faltering for now,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities on Friday.
“It does bode well for next month. Will we see a Santa rally? Most likely. Will it be as robust as November? That’s a big question mark.”
Retailers opened their doors to Black Friday shoppers, with social distancing practices and other measures put in place to mitigate infection risks, while offering steep discounts.
In the latest development towards developing a COVID-19 vaccine, Britain gave AstraZeneca the green light after experts raised questions about the vaccine’s trial data.
As US coronavirus hospitalisations set a grim record of more than 89,000, the race for a medical solution to the pandemic has led to promising vaccines from Pfizer Inc, Moderna Inc and others, fuelling optimism for light at the end of the tunnel.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 37.9 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 29,910.37; the S&P 500 gained 8.7 points, or 0.24 per cent, at 3,638.35; and the Nasdaq Composite added 111.44 points, or 0.92 per cent, at 12,205.85.
Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, healthcare companies enjoyed the largest percentage gains while energy shares had the biggest percentage loss.
Chipmaker stocks, which have been resilient throughout the global health crisis, once again outperformed the broader market, with the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index rising 1.2 per cent.
Shares of Walt Disney Co dipped 1.3 per cent after the company said it would lay off about 32,000 workers, up from the 28,000 announced previously. Jobs will be cut mainly at Disney’s theme parks.
Tesla Inc built on its recent rally, its shares advancing 2.0 per cent even as US regulators opened an investigation into front suspension issues in about 115,000 Tesla vehicles.
US-listed shares of iQIYI Inc fell 1.7 per cent after Reuters reported Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Tencent Holdings Ltd had put on hold talks to buy a controlling stake in the video streaming service.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 1.36-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.73-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 23 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 154 new highs and nine new lows.
Volume on US exchanges was 6.82 billion shares, compared with the 11.03 billion average during the past 20 trading days.