Weekly Wrap-Up: Thanksgiving Serves Up Gains for Retail

The major U.S. benchmarks rallied to record highs during the holiday-shortened week

Nov 25, 2016 at 10:52 AM
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It was a short week on Wall Street -- with markets closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday and stock trading ending early at 1 p.m. ET today -- but there was certainly plenty of action to hold traders' attention. In fact, for the first time in 17 years, the Dow, S&P 500 Index (SPX), Nasdaq Composite (COMP), and Russell 2000 Index (RUT) simultaneously closed at all-time peaks. And while the two-day streak was broken on Wednesday, blue-chip and small-cap stocks continued their record-setting run ahead of the holiday -- with the the RUT widening its daily win streak to a 20-year best. Plus, all four major benchmarks are trading higher today, and on track for notable weekly gains -- although the round-number 19,000 mark could prove meddlesome for the Dow in the near term.

Drilling down on specific sectors, chipmakers roared higher throughout the Thanksgiving week -- echoing the historically bullish trend for semiconductors -- with the Market Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH) notching a record high of $71.77 on Wednesday, and on track for a nearly 2% weekly advance. Part of the upside was due to a positive write-up in Barron's last weekend, which specifically called out NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) and Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD) as chip stocks with upside potential.

Retailers had quite a week, too, which should be expected, given the sector's historically positive price action in the lead-up to Black Friday -- with early numbers suggesting strong sales for the shopping holiday. Nevertheless, looking at the charts of several retail stocks, a number of names just popped up on a list of the most overbought S&P 500 Index (SPX) stocks compiled by Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White -- including Macy's Inc (NYSE:M), which waxed optimistic on Apple Inc.'s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Thanksgiving Day sales -- suggesting near-term caution should be in place.

Elsewhere, a big sell-off in biotechs on Wednesday weighed on the COMP, causing it to be the only major U.S. benchmark to settle the session in negative territory. Pressuring the sector was a devastating turn of events for Juno Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:JUNO) and disappointing drug data for Eli Lilly and Co (NYSE:LLY). A severe price-target cut for embattled drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX) only poured salt on the proverbial wound.

Elsewhere, gold prices tumbled as the U.S. Dollar Index (DXY) extended its trek into 13-year-high territory -- although several signs have emerged that the currency's momentum against the Japanese yen could slow. Nevertheless, December-dated gold futures were last seen down 0.3% at $1,188.90 -- on track to log a third straight weekly loss.

Looking ahead, both gold and the U.S. dollar could continue to be in focus next week, with a number of key economic reports due ahead of the December Fed meeting, with this week's release of the November meeting minutes taking a rather hawkish tone. Meanwhile, although short-term S&P bulls are likely hoping for a positive post-Black Friday week, traders should be aware of several stumbling blocks stocks are staring down at the moment.

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