NEW YORK - The three major U.S. stock market averages edged lower in afternoon trading Friday, even though the Nasdaq Composite Index hit an intraday record high earlier. Overall, the Standard and Poor's 500, Dow Jones industrial average and Nasdaq all closed higher for the second week in a row.
In general, U.S. stocks have been enjoying a strong rally since President-elect Donald Trump's surprise victory last week. His proposals to increase infrastructure spending and reduce taxes are expected to boost the economy.
Stocks of companies with small market capitalization have been the clear outperformer, as the Russell 2000, a small-cap index and most common benchmark for mutual funds that identify themselves as small-cap managers, was up 11 consecutive days for the first time since March 2013 and closed at a record high. Small caps could be one of the groups to benefit from a Trump presidency, which is expected to ease credit standards and put a greater focus on domestic issues.
According to Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist at LPL Financial, "The recent strength in small caps is a nice sign for the overall market, as small-cap strength tends to reflect more of an appetite for risk. Not to mention, when the Russell 2000 is up 10 days in a row, this actually leads to stronger returns going out."
The dollar extended its win streak against the euro and yen for its biggest two-week advance since 1999. Yields continued to rise as investors sold off government debt, with the 10-year Treasury note hitting its highest level in a year. The rise in the dollar and plunge in yields can be attributed to expectations that the new administration will increase spending and that inflation will rise.
Trading week ahead
U.S. markets will be closed Thursday for Thanksgiving. While it is a holiday-shortened week, traders will be busy on Friday as they digest early Black Friday sales figures.
Black Friday is when Americans turn out in droves to begin the Christmas shopping season. It is estimated that 137.4 million people are planning to shop or considering shopping during Thanksgiving weekend, according to the annual survey released Friday by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
The weekend covers in-store and online shopping on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, plus Sunday. In 2015,135.8 million people shopped during the same time period.
Trump's transition and policy initiatives will continue to dominate headlines, but attention will also swing back to the Federal Reserve, which could raise interest rates on December 14. Minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee meeting will be released Wednesday at 2 p.m. Eastern time.
The corporate calendar is winding down for the year, with mostly the retail sector represented including: Jack in the Box, Barnes & Noble, Burlington Stores, Chico's, Dollar Tree, GameStop and Urban Outfitters. Outside retail, Deere, Hewlett-Packard and Medtronic will report.