Stocks eked out a victory Friday as the major indexes recorded their third-straight win for the week as Wall Street digested retail updates and oil’s losses amid signals of a slowing economy.
The S&P 500 (^GSPC) edged higher by 0.13%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) finished just above the flatline. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) rose by about 0.08%.
All three US indexes carried momentum from a roaring midweek rally, which came as the market grew convinced the Federal Reserve could ease back on interest rate hikes. Cooler inflation and softer jobs data were taken as signs the central bank’s tightening is finally squeezing the US economy.
Some investors see similar signals in retailer updates. Gap (GPS) gave a bleak forecast for holiday sales in its earnings late Thursday, joining Walmart and Target in warning that a falloff in consumer spending will hit the all-important shopping season.
Oil prices also hinted at a slowdown by sinking into a bear market ahead of the OPEC+ meeting later in November. West Texas Intermediate crude (CL=F) and Brent crude (BZ=F) advanced nearly 4% on Friday, but lost for the overall week loss after touching their lowest level in nearly four months.
Meanwhile, Alibaba’s (BABA) decision to abandon the spin-off of its cloud unit drew attention to struggles at the Chinese e-commerce giant, whose shares sank in New York to erase more than $20 billion in market value. The decision, which Alibaba said was fueled by Washington’s chip curbs, also highlighted that US-China ties are still frayed after a meeting between the country’s presidents failed to make a splash.