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MANHATTAN, New York – Wall Street traded lower at the end of a truncated workday. While Black Friday sales are reportedly up, in-store crowds were lower. Meanwhile, China’s manufacturing sector had an unexpected surge as the month drew to a close.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Nasdaq composite, and the S&P 500 enjoyed gains this week and hit record highs. But the last trading day of the month saw Wall Street’s major indices slipping. The Dow Jones retreated by 0.40% or 112.59 points while the Nasdaq composite slipped 0.46% or 39.70 points. The S&P index dropped by 0.40% or 12.65 points.

E-commerce giant Alibaba broke records this week as it made its Hong Kong debut. Unfortunately, the signing of two bills supporting Hong Kong protesters brought trade deal concerns back to the forefront. Worries over China’s retaliation erased all the gains Alibaba enjoyed.

Alibaba shares skyrocketed past a 188.48 buy point to reach a 17-month peak this week. However, shares fell by 0.4% off this morning’s intraday low. The retail giant’s stocks remain on track to gain seven percent this week though.

While trading volume was light on the last day of November, some analyst say it could change next week. Many traders took a break for Thanksgiving while others are on the fence as they wait for the initial numbers for the holiday shopping season.

Consumers are expected to spend $7.5 billion on Black Friday and an additional $9.4 billion on Cyber Monday. But spot check reports indicate that there are fewer people are heading to brick-and-mortar stores.

Shares of Amazon, Apple, Best Buy, and Target are on the list of companies expected to benefit from Black Friday. Apple, which is a member of the Dow, Nasdaq, and S&P indices, pared losses to become basically flat. AMD and Nvidia stocks were also a bit off.

The retail sector of the S&P index fell 0.8%. Kohl’s Corp slipped 2.7% while Gap shares dropped by 1.8%. Walmart Inc. rose by 0.3% but rival Costco retreated by 0.3%. Best Buy Co Inc. shares also went down.

Meanwhile, China’s manufacturing industry is enjoying a resurgence. China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported on Saturday that the country’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) has returned to 50.2 this month.

This is the highest the index has reached since March. Domestic demand reportedly found help in the stimulus measures that Beijing is pushing. Gains are still minimal though, and export demands continue to be slow. There are also concerns about the impending US tariffs and how it will affect growth.

 

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