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US STOCKS AT RECORD HIGH

Technology stocks led the S&P 500 and Nasdaq to record closing highs on Friday, with the S&P ending above 2,600 points for the first time, while Amazon and retail stocks got a boost from signs of a strong start to the holiday shopping season.

The benchmark S&P 500 and the blue-chip Dow Jones industrials posted weekly gains for the first time in three weeks while the Nasdaq Composite posted its best weekly performance since the week to Sept. 1.

The Dow rose 31.81 points, or 0.14 percent, to 23,557.99, while the S&P gained 5.34 points, or 0.21 percent, to 2,602.42. The Nasdaq added 21.80 points, or 0.32 percent, to 6,889.16. The S&P posted 35 new 52-week highs and one new low; the Nasdaq recorded 120 new highs and 21 new lows.

The CBOE Volatility Index .VIX, better known as the VIX and the most widely followed barometer of expected near-term stock market volatility, closed at 9.67, nearly a three-week low.

The stock market had a half session on what is known as Black Friday, the day after the Thanksgiving holiday and the unofficial start of the US holiday shopping season. US stores offered deep discounts, entertainment and gifts to draw bargain hunters, but some shoppers said they were just eyeing goods, reserving their cash for online purchases.

On Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, US shoppers spent more than $2.87 billion online, according to Adobe Analytics.

Adobe, which measures 80 percent of online transactions at the largest 100 US web retailers, forecast online Black Friday sales of $5 billion, which would be a record high. Online retailers could rake in an additional $6.6 billion on Cyber Monday.

The S&P retail index rose 0.75 percent and hit a record intraday high, led by Amazon’s 2.6 percent gain.

Macy’s closed up 2.1 percent at $21.07. The department store operator’s chief executive told CNBC the company was better off this year than last and was seeing very robust online demand.

Kohl’s, Gap and J.C. Penney were up between 0.6 percent and 1.6 percent. Target ended 2.8 percent lower at $55.88, with analysts noting that it closed its stores for several hours overnight while rivals stayed open. Wal-Mart inched up 0.2 percent.

About 2.78 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges in the shortened session. The daily average over the last 20 full sessions is 6.48 billion shares. Last year, volume during the session after Thanksgiving was 3 billion shares.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.61-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.31-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

KSE-100 MARGINALLY NEGATIVE

The stock market witnessed a rangebound session, as it finished its last trading day of the week on a negative note.

The KSE-100 Index dipped over 175 points in the early session, as investors remained concerned about the ongoing sit-in in Islamabad and the current economic situation. However, share prices soared as investors bought at attractive valuations.

At close, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index registered a decrease of 17.80 points or 0.04 percent to settle at 40,248.41. it is said a rangebound session was witnessed at the local bourse as the KSE-100 index traded between an intraday high of +102 points and an intraday low of -183 points.

Mixed sentiment was observed in the banking sector on anticipation of unchanged policy rate in the upcoming announcement of monetary policy. Key stock such as UBL (-1.81%), NBP (-0.80%) and HBL (-0.47%) closed in the red while BAFL (+0.25%) and FABL (+0.43%) closed in the green zone.

Overall, trading volumes stayed at 101 million shares compared with Thursday’s tally of 101 million. Shares of 342 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 160 stocks closed higher, 168 declined while 14 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs4.5 billion. K-Electric was the volume leader with 25.9 million shares, gaining Rs0.34 to close at Rs6.01. It was followed by Azgard Nine with 9.5 million shares, gaining Rs0.48 to close at Rs15.32 and Bank of Punjab with 5.3 million shares, losing Rs0.06 to close at Rs8.26.

EUROPEAN SHARES SNAP TWO-WEEK LOSING STREAK

European shares ended little changed on Friday, underpinned by gains among heavyweight financial stocks, which helped the pan-European STOXX 600 index snap a two-week losing streak.

The STOXX 600 ended 0.1 percent down but rose 0.7 percent on the week, while the export-heavy German DAX index advanced 0.4 percent, shrugging off strenght in the euro. The growing prospect of a grand coalition in Germany boosted sentiment that had kept the DAX stuck around the 13,000-point level for the past two weeks. Shares in Danone rose 0.7 percent, while Diageo advanced by 0.3 percent. Banks were also in positive territory, up 0.5 percent, with Italian lenders topping the index.

TOKYO SHARES CLOSE HIGHER

Tokyo shares rose Friday, recouping earlier losses thanks to late bargain-hunting, while Mitsubishi Materials dropped more than eight percent after news of a quality control scandal emerged.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index gained 0.12 percent, or 27.70 points, to close at 22,550.85, while the broader Topix index rose 0.20 percent, or 3.48 points, at 1,780.56.

SRI LANKAN SHARES HIT 1-WEEK LOW

Sri Lankan shares hit a one-week closing low on Thursday, as investors waited for clarity on new taxes in the national budget and on key legislations, although selling by foreign investors in Commercial Bank of Ceylon helped boost turnover.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.13 percent weaker at 6,456.11, its lowest close since Nov. 16. Commercial Bank, which accounted for 82.3 percent of the day’s turnover, closed 0.5 percent firmer. The index was, however, dragged down by large caps, with Ceylon Tobacco Company falling 1 percent and Nestle Lanka Plc slipping 1.1 percent. The day’s turnover stood at 1.49 billion rupees, more than this year’s average of around 954.9 million rupees.

TSX RISES IN BROAD BUT MODEST MOVE

Canada’s main stock index rose in morning trading on Friday, led by modest gains for its heavyweight financial and energy sectors in a broad rally that helped put it on track for a 0.7 percent gain for the week.

At 10:00 a.m. EST (1500 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 29.13 points, or 0.18 percent, at 16,103.43. The energy group, which accounts for almost a fifth of the index’s weight, climbed 0.4 percent, while the financials group, which accounts for more than a third, gained 0.2 percent. US crude prices hit their highest in more than two years as the shutdown at TransCanada Corp’s Keystone pipeline continued to cut deliveries to storage facilities. TransCanada shares, which had fallen sharply earlier in the week, were up 0.4 percent at C$63.13. Nine of the index’s 10 main sectors were higher, with the materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, down 0.2 percent.

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