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The holiday-shortened trading week ends with stocks’ prices mixed after an uneventful Black Friday.
At the close of trading on Friday, the S&P 500 hit 4,026.12 after falling 0.3%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost 0.52% to reach 11,226.36 after Activision Blizzard’s shares plummeted 4% and Apple stock fell 2%.
However, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.45% on Friday, reaching 152.97 points in its third straight session of gains.
The US stock market closed earlier than usual on Friday (1:00 p.m.) after being closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving.
On Wednesday, the last full trading session, stocks ended higher after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting suggested the pace of interest rate hikes could slow in December.
All three major indexes ended the short trading week higher. The Dow saw the biggest gain, up 1.78%, followed by the S&P 500, which rose 1.53%.
While the Nasdaq lags behind the other two indexes, it also rose 0.72% in the same period.
Many investors continue to focus on the energy markets. WTI crude oil rose nearly 3% early Friday after oil prices fell to 2022 lows on Wednesday. However, the price turned lower, falling around 1.5% before the end of the day.
Some companies also saw their shares soar, including Manchester United (MANU), which rose 13% after gaining 25% on Wednesday amid reports that the English soccer club may be sold by its owner.
Manchester United’s current owner is the Glazer family, who also owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In foreign markets, European stocks rallied moderately during Friday’s trading session, with London’s FTSE up 0.3% late in the day.
Investors closely watched each move amid speculation that the People’s Bank of China would lower its reserve requirement for a second straight time in 2022 to stimulate the economy.
In addition, the KraneShares CSI China Internet ETF fell more than 4% on Friday as concerns about the Chinese economy’s path mount as the country continues to impose tighter controls as part of its fight against Covid-19.
Among ETF holdings, JD.com tumbled by 5.4%, while Alibaba and Tencent each fell more than 3%. Overall, the fund is down 34% this year alone.
In recent days, Beijing reported an increase in Covid-19 cases and reported its first coronavirus-related deaths since May earlier this week.
While a full lockdown has not been announced in Beijing, many apartment building managers in the Chinese capital have asked residents not to leave their homes in recent days.
In related developments, the dollar experienced another modest rally early in Friday’s trading after weakening earlier this week.
As the world nears the end of a very challenging year, markets seem to suggest more positive times are ahead.
From the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to the new year’s second trading day, the S&P 500 is up about 81% over seven decades. In addition, the index has gained 3.8% on average each year that stocks rose during that period.
In addition to the upbeat minutes from the Fed, which said most participants believed that slowing the pace of interest rate hikes soon was appropriate, stocks were buoyed by other things as well.
Better-than-expected retail earnings reports signaled that consumer strength has remained strong despite concerns about economic weakness. In response, shares moved higher.
Analysts expect the market to see big moves next week, too, as investors watch earnings reports from companies like Kroger and Ulta Beauty.
In addition, many traders are cautiously awaiting comments from Fed officials and the personal consumption spending report, set to be released on Thursday, as it is considered the central bank’s favored inflation indicator. This month’s job print is also due on Friday.
What Happened to Activision Blizzard and Apple?
The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite was hit by moves in shares of some companies on Friday.
Activision Blizzard saw its shares plunge more than 4% after Politico reported that the Federal Trade Commission could file a lawsuit to block Microsoft’s plans to acquire the video game company.
Microsoft, whose shares were flat on Friday, planned to acquire Activision Blizzard for $69 billion.
In addition, tech giant Apple’s shares fell 2% after Chinese media reported protests at Foxconn, the leading maker of iPhones, earlier this week. Investors also expect shutdowns at some manufacturing plants to affect supply over the holiday season and have an impact on the market as well.
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