Stock futures were mixed early Friday as U.S. investors get set for a shortened day of trading on Black Friday.
Near 7:15 a.m. ET, S&P 500 and Dow futures were up about 0.2%, while Nasdaq futures were down by 0.1%.
The U.S. stock market will close at 1:00 p.m. ET on Friday; financial markets in the U.S. were closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving.
Stocks finished with gains on Wednesday, the week’s final full trading session, after the minutes from the Fed’s latest meeting signaled a likely slowdown in the pace of rate hikes at the central bank’s December meeting.
No major economic data or earnings reports are expected for release in the U.S., though investors and analysts will likely stay alert for early reports on how consumer demand holds up during the Black Friday holiday.
Data from Adobe Analytics out earlier this week showed consumer spending was up 0.1% over last year during the first three weeks of November.
Energy markets remain in focus for investors, with WTI crude oil up about 2% early Friday to $79.70 per barrel, a rebound that comes after a nearly 5% drop in oil prices on Wednesday.
In overseas markets, stocks in Europe were on pace to record a sixth-straight winning week.
Investors were also trading news out overnight that the People’s Bank of China would cut its reserve requirement for the second time this year in an effort to stimulate the economy.
After weakening earlier this week, the dollar staged a modest rally early in Friday’s trading session.
In company news, shares of Manchester United (MANU) were up as much as 10% early Friday after a 25% gain on Wednesday as reports continue to swirl about a possible sale of the English football club by the Glazer family, which also owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
As investors in the U.S. look towards the end of November and the end of a challenging year in financial markets, Yahoo Finance’s Jared Blikre writes in Friday’s Morning Brief that history does suggest more positive times could be ahead for market bulls.
During the period that covers the Tuesday before Thanksgiving through the second trading day of the new year, the S&P 500 has been higher 81% of the time since 1950. And in years when stocks rise during this period, the index gains 3.8%, on average.
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