Nasdaq hits record high as holiday shopping begins

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In this news, we discuss the Nasdaq hits record high as holiday shopping begins.

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street shares rose and the Nasdaq closed at an all-time high on Friday in a week cut short by the holidays, as retailers kicked off the year-end shopping season at amid record COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The Nasdaq outperformed, with investors favoring market-leading technology stocks that performed well during the pandemic, while economically sensitive cyclical stocks weighed.

All three indexes rose for the week, in which the S&P 500 hit a new closing high and the blue chip Dow finished above 30,000 for the first time.

“It’s a shortened session and the volume is light, so the only conclusion is that the rally is not weakening just yet,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

“This bodes well for the next month,” added Cardillo. “Are we going to attend a Santa Claus rally?” Probably. Will it be as robust as November? It’s a big question mark.

Retailers have opened their doors to Black Friday shoppers, with social distancing practices and other measures put in place to mitigate the risk of infection, while also offering significant discounts.

“Black Friday has been tarnished somewhat – traffic is down due to the pandemic – but the good news is online sales have hit a new record,” Cardillo said. “It’s encouraging.”

In the latest development on the way to developing a vaccine for COVID-19, Britain has given the green light to drugmaker AstraZeneca after experts raised questions about the vaccine’s test data.

As U.S. coronavirus hospitalizations set a grim record of over 89,000, the race for a medical solution to the pandemic has led to promising vaccines from Pfizer Inc, Moderna Inc and others, fueling optimism for the light at end of the tunnel.

Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 38.56 points, or 0.13%, to 29,911.03, the S&P 500 gained 9.04 points, or 0.25%, to 3,638.69 and the Nasdaq Composite added 111.44 points, or 0.92%, to 12,205.85.

Stocks of chipmakers, which have held up throughout the global health crisis, have once again outperformed the market as a whole.

Walt Disney Co shares fell after the company said it would lay off around 32,000 workers, up from 28,000 previously announced. Jobs will be cut primarily at Disney theme parks.

Tesla Inc leaned on its recent rally, its shares advancing even as U.S. regulators opened an investigation into front suspension issues in around 115,000 Tesla vehicles.

U.S.-listed shares of iQIYI Inc fell after Reuters reported that Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Tencent Holdings Ltd had suspended talks to buy a controlling stake in the video streaming service.

Reporting by Stephen Culp; Edited by Richard Chang

Original © Thomson Reuters

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