S&P 500, Nasdaq End Week at Records
By Anna Hirtenstein and Michael Wursthorn
U.S. stocks edged higher during Friday's holiday-shortened
session as gains across shares of technology and health-care
companies pushed the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite to new
The broad S&P 500 added 8.70 points, or 0.2%, to 3638.35,
notching its 26th record close of the year. The Nasdaq Composite
added 111.44 points, or 0.9%, to 12205.85, its highest close ever.
The Dow edged up 37.90 points, 0.1%, to 29910.37, its third-highest
close in history.
The stock market closed at 1 p.m. ET. on Friday and was shut
Thursday for the Thanksgiving Holiday.
Markets have been largely buoyant over the handful of trading
sessions this week, with the Dow crossing the 30000 mark for the
first time Tuesday, even as rising coronavirus infection levels
across the U.S. and economic data point to a halting recovery that
may curb consumer confidence. Investors appear to be looking ahead
to next year, betting that Covid-19 vaccines will curb the pandemic
and allow social and business activity to return to normal, along
with a rebound in corporate earnings.
"Investors have become uninterested in worrying about downside
risks," Citigroup analysts wrote in a note to clients Friday
Investors' zeal for stocks amid all of that has pushed the three
major benchmarks up more than 2% this week, while gains for
November have extended into double-digit percentages. The Dow has
added nearly 13% since the end of October, on track to notch its
biggest monthly advance since 1987. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq
Composite have risen 11% and 12%, respectively, their biggest
month-to-date gains since April.
Still, analysts and investors warn that stocks appear to be
trading at elevated levels as the coronavirus pandemic worsens. The
number of people hospitalized in the U.S. due to Covid-19 surpassed
90,000 for the first time. More than 110,000 new cases were
reported around the nation Thursday, sharply lower than totals in
recent days. But infection levels are likely to rise again because
of large gatherings and reunions for the Thanksgiving Day
"There's still a lot of cases and restrictions in the U.S.: a
lot of activity is going to stall again," said Samy Chaar, chief
economist at Lombard Odier. "This will have an impact potentially
on the next job market report," he said, referring to labor-market
figures for November that will be released Dec. 4.
One concern that appears to be simmering down is the outcome of
the election. President Trump said Thursday that he would leave the
White House if the electoral college backs Joe Biden. The
president's campaign has lost several legal challenges that allege
election fraud, and he has come under pressure from Republicans to
accept the results.
"He lost big enough for this election to be very difficult to
contest. It's a done deal for markets," said Mr. Chaar. "Everyone
is working under the assumption that it will be a Biden
Mr. Biden's decision to pick Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary
added to the market's enthusiasm this week, Citigroup analysts
Meanwhile, Black Friday kicks off the traditional start of the
crucial holiday shopping season in the U.S. Investors will be
closely watching metrics such as e-commerce and mobility data to
try to gauge consumer confidence and the extent that the pandemic
and historically-high levels of unemployment will weigh on the
"Given the difficult year for so many retailers, there's
definitely going to be expectations for them to try to play catch
up," said Esty Dwek, head of global market strategy at Natixis
Investment Solutions. Black Friday "should give a nice bump to the
[economic data] numbers."
On Friday, shares of technology stocks in the S&P 500 gained
0.5%, while communications services companies rose 0.6%, two of the
stock market's most enduring winners throughout the pandemic.
Health-care stocks, meanwhile, jumped nearly 1%,
Overseas, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 wavered between
small gains and losses before closing up 0.4%.
In Asia, most major stock benchmarks gained. The Shanghai
Composite Index climbed 1.1%, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added
0.3%. Profits at China's industrial firms in October rose over 28%
from a year earlier, an acceleration from the 10% rise the previous
month, in yet another sign of the strength of the country's
Write to Anna Hirtenstein at email@example.com and
Michael Wursthorn at Michael.Wursthorn@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 27, 2020 14:11 ET (19:11 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.