US stock-index futures signal S&P 500 may continue its record run

US stocks-index futures rose, signaling the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures will extend a record after yesterday’s Thanksgiving holiday, as most European stocks advanced.

S&P 500 futures climbed 0.2% at 10:23 a.m. London time and the Stoxx Europe 600 Index was little changed. Dow Jones average soared 0.2% to 16,109 while Nasdaq technology index added 0.5%. Volumes are expected to be light today given that many traders are still out for the Thanksgiving Day holiday and that the trading session will end at 1 p.m.

“Any indication that the recent drop in consumer sentiment in the U.S. is encouraging them to avoid these sales could be seen as a sign that Christmas sales as a whole will be disappointing,” said to Wall Street Journal Craig Erlam, markets analyst at Alpari U.K. “Given the popularity of Black Friday in the past, this seems unlikely, but investors will certainly be watching this with interest throughout the day”.

S&P boosted Spain’s debt outlook to stable from negative and affirmed its rating at BBB-, the lowest among investment grades. It also lowered the Netherlands to AA+ from AAA, citing weaker growth prospects than previously forecast. The Dutch-German spread widened less than one basis point to 34 basis points.

“Sentiment is still very positive, with investors keeping an eye on economic data and many betting on a year-end rally,” said Patrick Kraehenbuehl, a portfolio manager at Umblin AG in Zurich.

In corporate news, Wal-Mart, J.C. Penney, Macy’s Inc., Target Corp., Sears Holdings Corp., Kohl’s Corp. and Best Buy Co. are among the larger retailers which stay open during holidays. Retailers would be focusing investors attention as their sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday would be closely followed by analysts in an attempt to asses possible earnings.

Online retailers such as Amazon.com Inc., eBay Inc. and Overstock.com Inc. are also likely to draw attention.

Speedy Hire Plc, a U.K. construction-leasing company, slumped 15% after its chief executive officer resigned amid an investigation into accounting irregularities at its international operations.

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