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Nov. 27, 2020, 4:11 p.m. EST

S&P 500, Nasdaq book record closes on Black Friday

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Mark DeCambre

U.S. stocks registered gains for the day and week on low trading volumes that took both the S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq Composite to record finishes, before an early close Friday after the Thursday Thanksgiving holiday.

The New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq closed at 1 p.m. Eastern time on Friday, while the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association recommended a 2 p.m. Eastern close for bonds.

On Wednesday :

For the week:

U.S. equity markets clambered higher Friday, hitting all-time highs for two of the three major benchmarks, as investors noted healthy online retail sales with the holiday shopping season beginning and parsed an update about the presidential transition as well as news related to vaccines for COVID-19.

Black Friday, the day after the Thanksgiving holiday, also is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year for Americans though online sales are likely to replace in-store shopping to an even greater extent this year during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s a light day for news today but over the weekend and into Monday investors may look for Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales results for indications of consumers’ willingness to spend amid current COVID and economic uncertainty, and whether spending has shifted more online this year,” wrote Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at SIA Wealth Management in a Friday note.

Retailers made gains Friday with the SPDR S&P Retail ETF /zigman2/quotes/206947004/composite XRT +6.89% up 0.9% to an all time high. Amazon /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN +0.98% gained 0.3%, and Shopify /zigman2/quotes/209033712/composite SHOP -3.83% climbed 1.5% after Adobe Analytics said Thanksgiving Day online sales rose to a record $5.1 billion as the pandemic forces consumers online.

Earlier, on Thanksgiving Day, President Donald Trump said he would leave the Oval Office if the Electoral College elects former Vice President Joe Biden as is expected on Dec. 14. The statement is arguably the most decisive acknowledgment of defeat for the 45th president, who has yet to formally concede the 2020 election that took place on Nov. 3, and has been called in favor of Biden. The Associated Press has declared Mr. Biden the winner of the election, with 306 electoral college votes to 232 for Mr. Trump.

Trading Friday also comes amid the persistent rise in COVID-19 cases, despite progress on remedies.

The global tally for confirmed cases of coronavirus that causes COVID-19 climbed above 61 million on Friday, according to  data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University , while the death toll rose above 1.4 million. In the U.S., the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 surpassed 90,000 for the first time, as the pandemic loomed over the holiday.

The resurgence of the disease has prompted fresh restrictions on business and consumer activity in both the U.S. and other countries. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday the  country’s partial lockdown  would be extended until Dec. 20, while France will remain locked down until Dec. 15, raising concerns over the economic impact in the coming months ahead of a potential vaccine distribution.

Meanwhile, the market was keeping one eye on AstraZeneca  /zigman2/quotes/200304487/composite AZN +0.80% shares, which ended flat Friday, but came under pressure in premarket trading, as questions were raised over the recent results of its experimental vaccine, being developed by the University of Oxford.

The British drugmaker said earlier this week the  vaccine was around 90% effective  when volunteers were given a half-dose shot followed by a full dose a month later, but 62% effective when two full doses were given. Chief of the U.S. Operation “Warp Speed ” program for vaccine development, Moncef Slaoui, and others in the U.S. have expressed concern over aspects of the late-stage study, but British officials have supported the findings of the vaccine maker.

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/zigman2/quotes/206947004/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE Arca
$ 81.43
+5.25 +6.89%
Volume: 9.76M
Jan. 26, 2021 8:00p
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/zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 3,326.13
+32.13 +0.98%
Volume: 2.96M
Jan. 26, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
97.41
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$1652.77 billion
Rev. per Employee
$351,531
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/zigman2/quotes/209033712/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 1,159.77
-46.15 -3.83%
Volume: 985,522
Jan. 26, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
743.20
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$147.02 billion
Rev. per Employee
$315,635
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/zigman2/quotes/200304487/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 54.44
+0.43 +0.80%
Volume: 11.61M
Jan. 26, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
56.83
Dividend Yield
2.52%
Market Cap
$141.72 billion
Rev. per Employee
$346,812
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