US Stock Market Overview – Stocks Rise Despite Retail Sales Miss

Trade deal helped buoy equities
David Becker

US stocks moved higher on Friday, initially hitting fresh all-time highs before trader’s began to digest the phase-one trade deal. For the week, the S&P 500 increased by 0.78%. Most sectors were lower in the S&P 500 led down by energy, utilities bucked the trend. US yields reversed their climb on Thursday moving lower and closing on the lows of the trading session. US Retail sales came in weaker than expected which took some of the luster off stock prices.

Retail Sales Rose Less than Expected

The commerce department on Friday reported that retail sales increased less than expected in November. US retail sales rose by 0.2% in November. Data for October was revised up to show retail sales increasing 0.4% instead of gaining 0.3% as previously reported. Expectations had been for retail sales to rise by 0.5% in November. Compared to November last year, retail sales increased by 3.3%. Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales edged up 0.1% last month after rising by an unrevised 0.3% in October. Core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product. Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, grew at a 2.9% annualized rate in the third quarter.

The Trade Deal Initially Lifted Stocks

The trade deal agreed to by the US and China diffuses tensions between the world’s two largest economies, and initially helped buoy stocks. However, policy analysts say there are still thorny issues between the two countries that will continue to be a focus and possibly a source of market volatility. Those would include national security issues, the continued clash between the U.S. and China on technology and U.S. concerns about human rights in Hong Kong and among China’s Muslim population.

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