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US: S&P 500, Nasdaq end at records on 'Black Friday' hopes

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[NEW YORK] The S&P 500 and Nasdaq finished at fresh records Friday as optimism about "Black Friday" and the start of the holiday shopping season boosted Amazon and several other retailers.

The S&P 500 gained 0.2 per cent to 2,602.42, finishing the holiday-shortened session above 2,600 for the first time.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.3 per cent to 6,889.16, its third straight closing high, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.1 per cent to 23,557.99.

Retail experts are generally upbeat about this year's holiday shopping performance amid low unemployment and lofty stock valuations.

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"Holiday retail sales in 2017 are expected to rise 4.2 per cent above last year, which would be the strongest growth rate since 2014," said a note this week from IHS Markit.

Amazon jumped 2.6 per cent as it announced a bevy of deals ahead of the "Cyber Monday" shopping day. Last year, the online retailer sold more than 64 million items on "Cyber Monday", the day after the Thanksgiving weekend.

Other retailers that enjoyed solid gains included Macy's, up 2.1 per cent; Gap, up 1.6 per cent; Best Buy, up 0.9 per cent; and Kohl's, up 1.0 per cent. Wal-Mart Stores, the world's biggest retailer, advanced 0.2 per cent.

But Target fell 2.8 per cent and Nordstrom dropped 0.5 per cent.

Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries jumped 1.6 per cent following reports that the slumping drug company plans deep layoffs. Teva is based in Israel, but has a stock listing in New York.

US stock markets closed early Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and traditionally a light day in terms of trading volume.

AFP

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