Wall Street stocks edge to records on holiday shopping optimism

Wall Street stocks edged to records following a choppy session on Monday as positive sentiment on the upcoming holiday shopping season helped offset some negative rumblings on trade talks.

Investors remain fairly upbeat about consumer sentiment following recent sales data as the market looks ahead to “Black Friday,” the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season, analysts said.

“Part of the kickoff to the holiday season probably has been enhanced by cold weather in the Northeast,” said Maris Ogg of Tower Bridge Advisors, noting that “people seem to be willing to spend.”

“That’s 70 per cent of the economy and that drives earnings. That’s what the market is gonna be focused on in the long run.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended at 28,036.22, up 31.33 points (0.11 per cent).

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 1.57 points (0.05 per cent) to 3,122.03, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 9.11 points (0.11 per cent) to 8,549.94.

All three indices had also ended at records on Friday.

Analysts said positive sentiment on consumer spending helped investors overlook reports that Chinese officials are intent on staking a “phase one” US-China trade deal on the removal of some tariffs, a condition opposed by the Trump administration.

This week’s calendar includes housing economic data and minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve meeting, as well as an array of earnings from retailers, including Macy’s and Target.

Among individual companies, beauty products giant Coty jumped 2.6 per cent after announcing a deal to pay US$600 million for a majority stake in Kylie Jenner’s cosmetics and skincare company.

HP dropped 0.8 per cent as it rejected a US$33 billion bid from Xerox, saying that it “significantly undervalues” the company but signalling that it was open to a potential deal down the road. Xerox gained 1.0 percent.

Source: AFP