Wall St ends flat; Disney, retailers dip on sales worries

Wall St ends flat; Disney, retailers dip on sales worries

By Sinead Carew

(Reuters) – U.S. stock indexes ended little changed in light trading on Friday, with consumer stocks falling as investors fretted over early reports on the U.S. holiday shopping season & Disney's subscriber losses weighed on the market.

U.S. stock markets closed three hours earlier following the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, with many traders taking the day off.

p>Trading volume was modest, with 2.79 billion shares changing hands on U.S. exchanges, compared with the 7 billion average for the previous seven sessions.

"We're going to obtain today over with & hit the ground running next week," said Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners in Chicago.

Battle expects a busy start to next week as investors prepare for a Dec. 4 non-farm payrolls report that may bring volatility ahead of a widely expected decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise interest rates at its mid-December meeting.

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A holiday decoration is seen over Wall St. sign outside the New York Stock Exchange, November 27, 20 …

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> fell 14.9 points, or 0.08 percent, to 17,798.49, the S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 1.24 points, or 0.06 percent, to 2,090.11 & the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 11.38 points, or 0.22 percent, to 5,127.53.

Seven out of 10 major S&P sectors rose slightly. The energy index <.SPNY> fell 0.7 percent as oil prices fell. Media & retailer stocks led the consumer discretionary sector's <.SPLRCD> 0.4 percent decline.

Crowds were thin at U.S. stores & shopping malls in the early hours of Black Friday & on Thanksgiving evening as shoppers responded to early holiday discounts with caution & as offensive weather injure the turnout.

The top retail percentage decliner was Urban Outfitters <URBN.O> with a 2.7 percent drop, followed by a 2.5 percent drop for Gap Inc <GPS.N>. Signet Jewelers <SIG.N>, fell 1.7 percent, as did Men's Wearhouse <MW.N>. DSW Inc <DSW.N>, Tiffany & Co <TIF.N> & Best Buy Co <BBY.N> all fell more than 1 percent.

Big retailers Wal-Mart <WMT.N>, J.C. Penney <JCP.N> & online retail giant Amazon.com <AMZN.O> fell less than 1 percent while the Dow Jones U.S. General Retailers index <.DJUSGT> fell 0.15 percent.

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Advertising for Black Friday sales are on display at a Target store in Chicago, Illinois, United Sta …

Thanksgiving kicks off the crucial November & December shopping season, during which retailers make between 20 percent & 40 percent of annual sales.

"We believe Thanksgiving shopping was a bust," analysts at Suntrust Robinson Humphrey said in a research note. "Members of our team who went to the malls first had no problem finding parking or navigating stores."

Performance Trust's Battle, however, called Black Friday anecdotes "noise."

"What matters most is the season as a whole & not just one day when some of that business is being done online," he said.

Walt Disney <DIS.N>, the biggest drag on the Dow & the S&P, fell 2.9 percent after it said late on Wednesday its ESPN sports network lost 3 million subscribers in 2015.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,829 to 1,154, for a 1.58-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,698 issues rose & 983 fell for a 1.73-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 16 new 52-week highs & 3 new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 82 new highs & 33 new lows.

(Additional reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Nick Zieminski & Bernadette Baum)

FinanceInvestment & Company InformationDisney

Source: “Reuters”

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