U.S. futures inch up ahead of shortened trading day - what's moving markets

November 24, 2023 09:18 PM AEDT | By Investing
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Investing.com -- U.S. futures edged into the green ahead of a truncated trading day. American shoppers will be on the hunt for deals this Black Friday as retail companies warn that inflation-squeezed consumers may be more careful about spending big this holiday season. Elsewhere, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) workers and activists in Europe plan protests and strikes aimed at disrupting the e-commerce giant's massive delivery network during its ongoing ten-day sales event.

1. Futures inch higher

U.S. stock futures pointed up prior to a shortened trading day on Wall Street on Friday.

By 04:52 ET (09:52 GMT), the Dow futures contract had added 63 points or 0.2%, S&P 500 futures rose by 6 points or 0.1%, and Nasdaq 100 futures had climbed by 19 points or 0.1%.

Markets in the U.S., which were closed for the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, are scheduled to shutter early. In the last full trading day of the week on Wednesday, equities rose thanks in part to economic data which fueled optimism that the Federal Reserve's campaign of interest rate hikes may have peaked.

Retailers will likely be in the spotlight, as they attempt to persuade customers to open up their wallets for Black Friday, the annual sales spree that typically kicks the crucial holiday shopping season into full gear. But with inflation high and borrowing costs elevated, many of these firms have flagged that American consumers may not be as willing as usual to spend on big-ticket items during the final weeks of the year.

2. S&P Global (NYSE:SPGI) U.S. manufacturing PMIs ahead

The economic calendar in the U.S. is mostly sparse on Friday, save for the release of the November manufacturing purchasing managers' index from financial information group S&P Global.

A proxy for economic activity in the world's largest economy, the preliminary figure for this month is expected to have dipped to 49.8, down from 50.0 in October. A mark below 50 indicates contraction.

On Wednesday, new data showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment aid fell by more than expected last week. University of Michigan price growth expectations were also revised higher, while durable goods orders in October were softer than projected.

Investors seemed to view the readings as a sign that, while the U.S. economy is easing, it could remain resilient enough to avert a recession. Hopes that the Fed may cease its tightening cycle were subsequently bolstered.

3. Amazon protests in Europe

Amazon workers and activists plan a series of protests across Europe on Friday in an attempt to disrupt the e-commerce giant's logistics network on one of its biggest shopping days of the year.

Employees at Amazon fulfilment centers and warehouses in some the continent's largest countries, including Germany and the U.K., are due to carry out labor actions on Black Friday as part of ongoing wage disputes. An anti-globalization group in France is also calling on demonstrators to place posters and ticker tape on parcel lockers used by Amazon shoppers to collect orders.

The moves are targeting Amazon's vast delivery system during a ten-day discount event that is set to end on November 27. Speaking with Reuters, Amazon spokespeople in Germany and Britain said that deliveries will still be reliable and timely.

4. Japanese inflation accelerates

Core consumer inflation in Japan accelerated for the first time in four months in October, as a debate rages in the country over the potential normalization of the Bank of Japan's ultra-loose monetary policy.

The national core consumer price index, which excludes volatile fresh food prices, grew 2.9% on an annualized basis in October, data from the Statistics Bureau showed on Friday.

The reading was just below expectations of 3%, but was faster than a 2.8% increase seen last month.

While the BOJ has tweaked its ultra-dovish stance in recent months to somewhat address yen weakness and rising bond yields, the bank has provided no clear cues on when it plans to pivot away from the policy. Governor Kazuo Ueda said the bank would make no changes until it was convinced that wage growth, which has been subdued for most of the past two years, was picking up.

5. Crude awaits OPEC+ gathering

Oil prices traded in a mixed fashion Friday, but remained on course for the first positive week in five ahead of next week’s OPEC+ meeting to discuss future output levels.

By 04:53 ET, the U.S. crude futures traded 0.6% lower at $76.67 a barrel, while the Brent contract climbed 0.2% to $81.59 per barrel. Both contracts were up around 1% for the week, gaining after an extended rout brought prices to near four-month lows.

Traders still expect the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, including Russia, a group known as OPEC+, to agree to more supply cuts to boost prices.

The OPEC+ meeting was delayed to Nov. 30, having originally been scheduled for Sunday, prompting speculation of disagreements between member countries over planned production cuts.

This article first appeared in Investing.com


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