Retailers help boost stocks to record close on Black Friday
U.S. stocks closed near record highs Friday as retailers climbed at the start of the post-Thanksgiving shopping period, while energy companies rose after Bloomberg reported that a group of key oil producers plans to extend cuts in production until the end of 2018.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 5 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at a record 2,602.42. The Dow Jones industrial average added 31 points, or 0.14 percent, to 23,557. The Nasdaq composite gained 22 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at a record 6,889. Trading was muted after the Thanksgiving holiday and U.S. markets closed early, at 1 p.m. ET.
E-commerce giant Amazon's (AMZN) stock rose $29.84, or 2.58 percent, to $1,186.00 -- resulting in CEO and founder Jeff Bezos' fortune topping $100 billion. Amazon's stock is up 54 percent this year, putting it in elite company: Only four other publicly listed U.S. companies trade for more than $1,000 apiece. The stock's success seems to have sealed Bezos' status as the world's richest human.
Amazon, along with tech giants Apple (APPL), Facebook (FB), Microsoft (MSFT) and Google's parent company, Alphabet (GOOG), have played a huge role in the market's gains this year. Those five companies combined are responsible for more than one-fourth of the value the S&P 500 has gained this year. Amazon and Facebook are trading at all-time highs and the other three set new highs earlier this month.
Macy's CEO Jeffrey Gennette told CNBC on Friday that holiday shopping is off to a good start with few discounts and strong sales of some especially profitable products like winter clothing. Macy's (M) gained 2.1 percent, to $21.07 and other department stores climbed as well.
Experts are mostly predicting strong sales over the holiday season because of increased consumer confidence and a very low unemployment rate. The National Retail Federation expects retailer sales to grow at least as fast as they did last year.
Big retailers like Wal-Mart (WMT) and Urban Outfitters (URBN) and Gap (GPS) have also reported strong quarterly results recently. On Friday, Gap added 47 cents, or 1.6 percent, to close at $29.64.
Bloomberg reported that OPEC members and Russia have agreed to extend their latest cuts in oil production until the end of 2018. OPEC and a group of other important oil producers will meet in Vienna at the end of the month to discuss cuts they announced one year ago and implemented at the start of 2017.
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