Wall St. slips as Disney weighs; holiday sales in focus

Wall St. slips as Disney weighs; holiday sales in focus

By Tanya Agrawal

(Reuters) – Wall Street was slightly lower on Friday, a shortened trading day, as investors turn their focus to the crucial U.S. holiday shopping season & Disney weighed on indexes.

Trading was relatively quiet just after the opening bell, with volumes expected to be light as the market is scheduled to close at 1 p.m. ET (1700 GMT). U.S. markets were shut on Thursday for Thanksgiving.

p>Dow component Walt Disney <DIS.N> fell 3.3 percent to $114.80, after the media giant said late on Wednesday that its ESPN sports network lost 3 million subscribers in 2015. The stock was the biggest drag on the Dow & the S&P 500.

The shopping season spanning November & December is crucial for many retailers because the two months can account for anywhere between 20 percent & 40 percent of annual sales.

However, shoppers are expected to be cautious with their spending again this year. The National Retail Federation is expecting holiday sales to rise 3.7 percent, slower than last year's 4.1 percent increase.

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People ride an escalator at Toys "R" Us Times Square store during the early opening of the …

Shoppers appeared to respond to early Black Friday discounts with a mix of enthusiasm & caution.

Amazon's <AMZN.O> shares were up 0.45 percent at $678.21, while Target <TGT.N> rose 1 percent to $73.85.

"I expect some sideways action today with low volume, with traders focused on Black Friday sales ahead of next week's busy economic calendar," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.

At 9:38 a.m. ET the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 22.58 points, or 0.13 percent, at 17,790.81, the S&P 500 <.SPX> was down 0.5 points, or 0.02 percent, at 2,088.37 & the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> was up 1.51 points, or 0.03 percent, at 5,117.65.

Five of the 10 major S&P sectors were higher with the telecommunications index <.SPLRCL> leading the advancers with a 0.52 percent gain.

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A 78-foot-tall Norway Spruce is hoisted into position as the 2015 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree  …

A barrage of economic data is scheduled for release next week, culminating in the November employment report, the last one ahead of the Federal Reserve's December meeting.

"A strong jobs report will probably seal a December rate hike," said Cardillo.

Traders on Friday priced in a 78 percent chance of a rate hike in December, up from approximately 52 percent last month, according to the CME Group's FedWatch.

Global markets were mainly lower, with the Chinese markets registering their biggest one-day drop in more than three months due to regulatory worries & a slowdown in profits at huge industrial firms.

Crude oil futures were lower on Friday, bringing losses this month to over 8 percent as disappointing Chinese data & worries over a supply glut overshadowed geopolitical concerns. The energy index <.SPNY> fell 0.80 percent & was the biggest decliner. [O/R]

KaloBios Pharmaceuticals <KIBO.O> jumped 55.3 percent to $41.69 after Chief Executive Martin Shkreli tweeted he will stop lending out his shares in the company.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,533 to 1,085. On the Nasdaq, 1,290 issues fell & 894 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed five new 52-week highs & no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 17 new highs & 14 new lows.

(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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Source: “Reuters”

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