Global stock markets mixed amid muted Thanksgiving trading

Investors monitor inflation numbers, recession worries and speculation the Fed has finished raising interest rates

Santa Claus visits the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange to celebrate the 97th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Trading on Wall Street is usually muted during the Thanksgiving weekend. Reuters
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Global stock markets were muted amid the extended Thanksgiving weekend, but Wall Street maintained its momentum by posting its fourth straight weekly gain.

US markets, which reopened after the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, were subdued on Friday, with the thin trading ending at 1pm. Health care, financial and energy stocks led gains to offset losses in technology and communication services.

Trading is usually quiet during the Thanksgiving weekend as the world's biggest economy holds its annual Black Friday shopping bonanza, followed by the tech-focused Cyber Monday, when consumers – who continue to spend despite economic headwinds – flock to retailers offering deep discounts.

Investors, however, are still keeping an eye on macroeconomic factors, which include inflation numbers, recession worries and speculation on whether the US Federal Reserve is done with its flurry of interest rate hikes.

"If you wanted some excitement [on Friday], the stock market was not the place to be. It traded in a relatively listless fashion on very light volume, lacking the interest, the vigour and the slate of news catalysts that are often seen during a normal trading session," analysts at said.

The S&P 500 edged up 0.1 per cent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.3 per cent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 0.1 per cent.

For the week, the S&P 500 gained 1 per cent, the Dow added 1.3 per cent and the Nasdaq rose 0.9 per cent. This year, the indexes are up 18.8 per cent, 6.8 per cent and 36.2 per cent, respectively.

In Europe, London's FTSE 100 logged a 0.1 per cent gain at the close to post a weekly loss despite a late rally by energy stocks.

British consumers remain big on Black Friday spending, even as they are faced with 4.6 per cent inflation.

In other major European indexes, Paris's CAC 40 and Frankfurt's DAX both settled 0.2 per cent higher.

Earlier in Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 rose 0.5 per cent at the close. The yen gained against the dollar as inflation in the world's third-largest economy rose again, increasing speculation that the Bank of Japan will shift from its ultra-loose monetary policy.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index and the Shanghai Composite posted losses, closing down 2 per cent and 0.7 per cent, respectively.

In commodities, oil prices gave up earlier gains to end lower on Friday. Brent shed 1.03 per cent, or 84 cents, to settle at $80.58 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate slid 2.02 per cent, or $1.56, from Wednesday's close to finish at $75.54 a barrel.

Gold, meanwhile, rose above the key $2,000 level as investors increasingly bet the Fed's interest rate hikes are drawing to a close.

The precious metal rose more than 0.5 per cent, or $10.20, to $2,003 an ounce, to post its second consecutive weekly gain.

Updated: November 25, 2023, 8:47 AM