Midday Update: Strong Black Friday Demand Drives U.S. Equities to New Record Highs

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Encouraged by strong Black Friday activity that boosted consumer-discretionary stocks, Wall Street was in a cheery mood Friday, sending the three major U.S. stock indexes to fresh records.

Still, volume was light on Black Friday, which typically is the slowest

trading day of the year. Overall volume was only a fraction of the norm and

the bulk of activity was in the consumer-discretionary sector.

Nonetheless, a little more than an hour before the shortened day's close, the

Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor's 500 index were poised to

close higher for the seventh-consecutive week while the Nasdaq Composite was

on track to close higher for the third-straight week.

The DJIA hit a new record of 16174.51 Friday, while the S&P 500's new record

was hit at 1813.55 and the Nasdaq Composite reached a new record at 4069.18.

Friday's gains as of recent trading put the indexes' year-to-date climbs at

23%, 27% and 35%, respectively.

Europe also closed mostly higher Friday, with the UK FTSE and German Dax supported by encouraging European Union economic and inflation data, expected to keep the European Central Bank from cutting rates again at next week's policy meeting. Tensions between China and Japan put pressure on the Nikkei.

Recently, crude oil was up $1.31 to $93.62 per barrel. Natural gas was up $0.06 to $3.95 per one million BTU. Gold was up $15.10 to $1,253.00 an ounce, while silver was up $0.40 to $20.09 an ounce. Copper was up $0.03 to $3.22 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was up 1.3% to $33.61 while the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 1.1% to $19.29. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 2.6% to 22.34 while SPDR Gold Shares was up 1.2% to $120.92. The iShares Silver Trust was up 2% to $19.33.

Here is where the markets stood at noon, with an hour until the close:

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) NAT (+6.32%) Establishes new offshore-supply vessel company, expects increased demand for liquefied natural gas carriers from Japan.

(+) ZOOM (+233.33%) Agreed to acquire mobile-advertising company Beijing Baifen Tonglian Information & Technology Co. in a stock deal.

(+) DSS (+20.21%) The company's DSS Technology Management unit has filed a patent lawsuit against Apple Inc. ( AAPL ).

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) RENN (-10.75%) Reported a Q3 adjusted loss of $19.7 million, wider than the loss of $12.1 million in the corresponding period of 2012.

(-) UEPS (-28.88%) The South African Constitutional Court set aside appeals court decision but suspended its declaration of invalidity pending determination of a "just and equitable remedy" regarding South African Social Security Agency awarding a contract to Net1's wholly owned subsidiary Cash Paymaster Services.

(-) FTNT (-12.32%) Analysts were "unsettled" by the departure of Chief Financial Officer Ahmed Rubaie after just seven months on the job.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2014 MTNewswires.com. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.


This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: AAPL

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