U.S. Stocks Head Lower in Half-Day Session After Thanksgiving

(AP) -
stock report
The foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Friday. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Stocks moved lower in morning trading on Wall Street Friday as the market pulled back after a week of record highs for the major indexes. Trading volume was lighter than usual with the markets open for only a half day after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Energy led the way lower as U.S. crude oil prices slumped 4%. Helmerich & Payne dropped 3.9%.

Health-care and technology stocks also helped pull the market lower. Bristol-Myers Squibb slid 1.1%, and Lam Research fell 1.5%.

Big retailers were mixed as investors watched for signs that consumers turned out in force to snap up Black Friday shopping deals. Macy’s, Gap and Nordstrom were among the losers. J.C. Penney, Walmart and Best Buy rose.

Industrial stocks also fell. United Rentals slid 1.2%.

Wells Fargo gained 0.6%, part of a broad gain in financial-sector stocks as bond yields rose. Higher bond yields drive up the interest rates that lenders charge on mortgage and other consumer loans. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.77% from 1.76% late Wednesday.

Despite Friday’s modest pullback, the S&P 500 was on track for a 1.2% weekly gain. The benchmark index was also on pace to close out November with its strongest increase since June.

The stock market has been notching gains steadily since October, shaking off recession fears that helped knock stocks into a skid in August.

Surprisingly good corporate earnings, solid economic data and interest-rate cuts by the Federal Reserve have helped set the stage for the market’s fall rally. Investors have also grown more optimistic about the prospects for a U.S.-China trade deal.

New U.S. tariffs are set to kick in on many Chinese-made products as of Dec. 15, but negotiators have said they might soon have a preliminary deal that could avert that.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index was down 0.3% as of 11:52 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 95 points, or 0.3%, to 28,068. The Nasdaq dropped 0.3% and the Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 0.3%.

Major stock indexes in Europe were mixed.

MONTH OF MILESTONES: The three major stock indexes have notched multiple record highs in recent weeks. That’s helped put them on track to close out November with strong gains.

The S&P 500 is up 3.5% for the month, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 3.8% and the Nasdaq is up 4.7%.

READY, SET, SHOP: Retailers were hoping for a solid turnout as Black Friday, traditionally the kickoff for the year-end shopping season, got underway.

This year retailers have less time to woo consumers because Thanksgiving fell on the fourth Thursday in November, making the shopping season six days shorter.

The National Retail Federation baked the shorter season into its forecast, which calls for shopping-season sales to rise between 3.8% and 4.2%, an increase from the disappointing 2.1% growth seen in the November and December 2018 period.

Retail stocks were mixed Friday, with shares in department-store chains mostly lower. Macy’s fell 1.4%, Gap dropped 1.9%, Kohl’s slid 2.2% and Nordstrom skidded 1.6%.

A few bucked the downward trend. J.C. Penney rose 0.9%, Walmart added 0.7% and Best Buy gained 0.3%.

SOAKED: U.S. Steel slumped 7.9% following reports that a water pipe burst at the company’s steel mill in Gary, Indiana.

SWEETENED OFFER: Shares in Tech Data jumped 12.3% after Apollo Global Management raised its offer to buy the technology company to $145 per share in cash from $130.

ENERGY: Benchmark crude oil dropped $2.33 to $55.78 per barrel. Brent crude oil, the international standard, gave up $2.38 to $60.89 per barrel.