U.S. stocks declined on the day but posted another solid weekly advance, which was the seventh out of eight. However, volume was light following yesterday’s Thanksgiving break and as today’s session was shortened. Lingering optimism of a U.S.-China “phase one” trade deal, which was a main catalyst for this week’s rally, was challenged somewhat by the U.S. signing legislation in support of Hong Kong protestors. Also, the markets tried to gauge the health of the all-important U.S. consumer as “Black Friday” unofficially kicks off the key holiday shopping season. Treasury yields were mixed and gold was higher, while the U.S. dollar turned lower and crude oil prices fell, with the economic calendar dormant and equity news light. Asia finished lower and European equities dipped on the flared up trade tensions and following a host of divergent global economic data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) declined 113 points (0.4%) to 28,051, the S&P 500 Index decreased 13 points (0.4%) to 3,141 and the Nasdaq Composite slid 40 points (0.5%) to 8,665. In light volume, 496 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 1.1 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq. WTI crude oil lost $2.52 to $55.59 per barrel and wholesale gasoline shed $0.08 to $1.60 per gallon. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price was $9.03 higher at $1,464.63 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—dipped 0.1% to 98.25. Markets got back into the green for the week, as the DJIA rose 0.6%, the S&P 500 Index advanced 1.0%, and the Nasdaq Composite gained 1.7%.

The retail sector was in focus on “Black Friday,” a key day on which deep discounts are made by a host of retailers to entice shoppers and unofficially kick of the holiday shopping season. The markets looked to gauge the health of the all-important U.S. consumer that has buoyed the economy and kept recession concerns muted despite noise from the slowing global manufacturing sector. Per the National Retail Federation (NRF), an estimated 165.3 million people are likely to shop Thanksgiving Day through “Cyber Monday,” an online version of “Black Friday,” where the NRF projects 68.7 million will take advantage of online bargains. NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said, “Even as people are starting to purchase gifts earlier in the season, consumers still enjoy finding good Thanksgiving deals and passing time shopping with family and friends over the long holiday weekend.”

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