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U.S. Stocks Close Mixed Following Shortened Session

wallstreet sept18 25nov22 lt

With trading activity remaining subdued following the Thanksgiving Day holiday on Thursday, stocks turned in a lackluster performance during trading on Friday. Despite the choppy trading, the Dow ended the session at a new seven-month closing high.

The major averages eventually finished the shortened session mixed. While the Dow climbed 152.97 points or 0.5 percent to 34,347.03, the S&P 500 edged down 1.14 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 4,026.12 and the Nasdaq slid 58.36 points or 0.5 percent to 11,226.36.

For the holiday-interrupted week, the Dow surged by 1.8 percent, the S&P 500 jumped by 1.5 percent and the Nasdaq advanced by 0.7 percent.

The lackluster performance on Wall Street came as many traders remained away from their desks following yesterday's holiday.

An early close for the markets at 1 pm ET along with a lack of major U.S. economic data also contributed to below average trading activity.

Nonetheless, the major averages posted solid gains for the week due in part to optimism about slower interest rate hikes.

The minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting, released on Wednesday, provided further evidence the central bank is considering slowing the pace of its rate hikes as soon as next month.

The minutes said a "substantial majority" of meeting participants judged that a slowing in the pace of rate hikes would likely "soon be appropriate."

A slower pace of rate hikes would better allow the Fed to assess progress toward its goals of maximum employment and price stability, the minutes said.

However, the Fed also said some participants felt the central bank will need to raise rates higher than previously expected in order to attain a sufficiently restrictive stance to bring inflation down.

Most of the major sectors ended the day showing only modest moves, contributing to the lackluster close by the broader markets.

Semiconductor stocks showed a notable move to the downside, however, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index falling by 1.3 percent.

Gold, tobacco and oil service stocks also moved to the downside, while some strength was visible among airline, commercial real estate and utilities stocks.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index climbed by 0.4 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index fell by 0.4 percent.

Meanwhile, European stocks moved modestly higher on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index inched up by 0.1 percent and the German DAX Index closed just above the unchanged line.

In the bond market, treasuries have bounced back near the unchanged line after seeing early weakness. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by less than a basis point at 3.702 percent.

Looking Ahead

The Labor Department's closely watched monthly jobs report is likely to be in focus next week, while traders are also likely to keep an eye on reports on consumer confidence, personal income and spending and manufacturing activity.

A speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is also likely to attract attention along with the Fed's Beige Book, as traders look for further clues about the outlook for interest rates.

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