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U.S. Stocks Move Mostly Higher During Abbreviated Session

wallstreet aug21 27nov20 lt

While trading activity was somewhat subdued following the Thanksgiving Day holiday, stocks moved mostly higher during an abbreviated session on Friday. With the upward move, the Nasdaq and S&P 500 reached new record closing highs.

The major averages all closed in positive territory, although the tech-heavy Nasdaq outperformed its counterparts. The Nasdaq jumped 111.44 points or 0.9 percent to 12,205.85, while the Dow edged up 37.90 points or 0.1 percent to 29,910.37 and the S&P 500 rose 8.70 points or 0.2 percent to 3,638.35.

For the week, the Nasdaq soared by 3 percent, while the Dow and the S&P 500 surged up by 2.2 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively.

The markets continued to benefit from recent upward momentum, which has propelled the major averages to new record highs.

Optimism about a potential coronavirus vaccine has contributed to recent strength on Wall Street, although some questions have been raised about the efficacy of the vaccine being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.

AstraZeneca Pascal Soriot told Bloomberg the British pharmaceutical giant is likely to run a new global trial of the vaccine candidate.

Nonetheless, overall trading activity was subdued in the shortened trading session, as many traders remained away from their desks following the holiday.

A lack of major U.S. economic data also kept traders on the sidelines ahead of the monthly jobs report due next week along with reports on manufacturing and service sector activity.

Biotechnology stocks showed a strong move to the upside on the day, driving the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index up by 1.4 percent.

Considerable strength was also visible among semiconductor stocks, as reflected by the 1.2 percent gain posted by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index. The advance lifted the index to a new record high.

Healthcare and software stocks also saw notable strength, while energy stocks came under pressure over the course of the session.

Reflecting the weakness in the energy sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index tumbled by 2.1 percent, while the NYSE Arca Oil Index and the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index fell by 1.3 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

Energy stocks moved lower along with the price of crude oil, as crude for January delivery has fallen $0.35 to $45.36 a barrel.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.4 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index jumped by 1.1 percent.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index climbed by 0.4 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved higher after ending the previous session nearly unchanged. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, has dropped 3.4 basis points to 0.844 percent.

Looking Ahead

News on the coronavirus front is likely to attract attention next along with the monthly jobs report and data on manufacturing and service sector activity.

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