On Friday, U.S. stock index futures were higher with retail stocks gaining much attention as Black Friday starts the holiday shopping season. While, Black Friday is the busiest day of the year for U.S. retailers, the stock market is expected to be quiet and closes early at 1:00 p.m. EST.
Shoppers had spent over $1.52 billion online on Thanksgiving, a 16.8 percent increase from last year, according to analysts. Increased online sales continue to take away the business of physical retailers, who rely on the holiday season to make up 40 percent of annual sales. Yet, crowds this year at the retailers were reported strong compared to the last few years.
Shares of Macy’s were up 2.5 percent in premarket trading, while Wal-Mart and Target barely moved. Rival Amazon showed an increase 0.8 percent.
Wall Street closed with little changing on Wednesday, telecom services were the largest movers and the energy sector increased with gains in crude oil.
U.S. oil prices hit to a two-year high on Friday as markets tightened with the partial closure of the Keystone pipeline that connects the United States and Canada. Benchmark Brent crude showed a small gain.
The benchmark S&P 500 has gained 16 percent this year, pushed by an improving economy, strong earnings, and hopes of a tax cut by the Trump administration. The S&P and the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.7 percent this week and is on track to close higher for the first time in three weeks. The Nasdaq Composite gained 1.2 percent this week.
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A futures snapshot as of 6:36 a.m. ET:
Dow e-minis were up 0.2 percent or 47 points with 40,828 contracts traded. S&P 500 e-minis were up 0.24 percent or 6.25 points with 211,146 contracts changing hand. Lastly, Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up or 0.11 percent or 7.25 points with 46,152 contracts traded.