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By Aubrey Pringle
By Aubrey Pringle
NEW YORK – U.S. stocks rose, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index toward its eighth straight weekly advance, as retailers including Gap Inc. and Best Buy Co. gained amid Black Friday sales events.
Gap and Best Buy advanced at least 0.8 percent as retailers opened their doors to holiday shoppers. Apple Inc. climbed 0.7 percent after a report showed the company sold three of every four smartphones in Japan last month. Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. fell 2 percent after Australia blocked a A$2.2 billion ($2 billion) takeover of GrainCorp Ltd.
The S&P 500 rose 0.3 percent to 1,812.45 at 10:16 a.m. in New York. The gauge is up 0.4 percent for the week, poised for a monthly gain of 3.2 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 63.58 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,160.91 today. Trading in S&P 500 stocks was 39 percent below the 30-day average at this time of the day. U.S. markets were closed yesterday for the Thanksgiving holiday and trading will end at 1 p.m. today.
“The general mood is that we’re going to have growth this year in terms of holiday season shopping, though probably less than before the crisis,” Aaron Izenstark, co-founder and chief investment officer of Iron Financial LLC’s Iron Strategic Income Fund in Northbrook, Ill., said by phone. “There is an expectation in the market that it has started out on a positive note, so I do think that is definitely driving thoughts today in the marketplace.”
The S&P 500 and the Dow finished at records on Nov. 27, as jobless claims unexpectedly declined and a measure of consumer confidence beat estimates. The S&P 500 has climbed 27 percent this year, poised for its best year since 1997, and the Dow has gained 23 percent after the Federal Reserve refrained from tapering its third round of economic stimulus.
Minutes of the last Fed meeting released on Nov. 20 showed that officials are considering scaling back their $85 billion in monthly bond purchases “in coming months” if the economy improves as anticipated.
Investors will await reports on manufacturing and home sales next week, and the November release of non-farm payrolls on Dec. 6. Janet Yellen, who will replace Ben S. Bernanke as chairman of the Fed, has said she will ensure monetary stimulus isn’t removed too soon to support economic recovery in the U.S.
“Investors are waiting for indications on when tapering may come,” said Ioan Smith, strategist at KCG Europe Ltd. “The minutes revealed a wide-ranging discussion of various policy scenarios and contingencies. It is still the case that there’s not enough sustained evidence to meet the taper criteria as soon as next month.”