Wall St The Week Ahead: Thanksgiving lull ahead of Black Friday

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Wall Street set another record last week, and the rally that has taken the S&P 500 index nearly 30 per cent higher for the year shows no sign of losing steam as Americans prepare to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.

Trading volume is likely to be light as US stock markets will be closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving and open for half of the day on Friday.

Retail stocks are likely to be in focus this week with Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving when shoppers take advantage of super deals designed to kick start the holiday retail season. Black Friday, when many stores’ accounts go from red to black – begins sooner this year.

Major retailers including Target, Best Buy, Macy’s and Walmart are beginning their sales around dinner time on Thanksgiving day. Internet retailer Amazon.com has already started marking prices down.

Approximately 89m shoppers flocked to stores during Black Friday weekend last year, according to the National Retail Federation.

December is historically seen as the best month for the Dow and the S&P 500, thanks to a frequent year-end surge by stocks called the “Santa Claus rally”.

Investors will get a better sense of the state of the housing sector this week. Data today is expected to show pending sales rose in October, and a report tomorrow is seen showing an increase in groundbreaking on homes that month and an increase in prices in September.

Other economic data due on Wednesday include durable goods orders, jobless claims, Chicago PMI and consumer sentiment.