12:50 PM New York – U.S. market indexes traded sideways and investors digested latest manufacturing reports from the U.S., euro zone, China and U.K. Current account deficit in India declined. U.S. retail sales declined in during four-day holiday period on higher discounts. Gold and silver eased.
U.S. stocks traded sideways as investors focused on economic data and holiday weekend sales.
The widely followed S&P 500 index stretched its advance for the eighth week in a row at the end of last week and the index is up 26.5% in the year so far.
S&P 500 index increased 3.86 to 1,809.67 and the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 1.07 to 4,060.96.
Retailers Struggle to Hold Margins
U.S. retailers were in focus after holiday sales were lower than expected largely on higher than normal discounting by large chains.
The four-day sales that included Black Friday last weekend declined 3.9% from a year ago same weekend as retailers discounted to attract more customers in a shorter holiday sales season.
The National Retail Federation stuck to its estimate and said the average shopped spent $407.02 over the weekend. Nearly 141 million peopled shopped at least once during the weekend, ahead of 131 million a year ago weekend.
The total shopping in the four-day period is estimated to decline to $57.4 billion, 2.8% lower from $59.1 billion in the weekend a year ago.
The so called Black Friday is based on the myth that most retailers turn profitable in the year on that day. The Thanksgiving weekend sales is an early indication of consumer sentiment and spending trend for holiday shopping.
U.S. only sales soared 17.3% on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, ComScore Inc said in a research note today.
Retailers are also looking for higher sales this Cyber Monday, the biggest sale day of the year for e-commerce.
However, several large retailers launched their sale events over the weekend to manage the surge in traffic on Monday.
J.C. Penney Co Inc and Macy’s launched their sale events on Sunday.
U.S. Manufacturing Expands
Two private surveys indicate manufacturing sector expanded in November.
The index of manufacturing activities increased in November according to the data tracked by Markit Economics.
The manufacturing index increased to 54.7 in the month from 51.8 in October.
A separate report from the Institute of Supply Management indicated that the factor index increased to 57.3 in November from 56.4 a month ago.
Manufacturing reports in the euro zone, U.K. and China also showed an expansion and current account deficit in India declined substantially, supporting a mild recovery in the rupee.