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US STOCKS-Wall St set for higher open as Black Friday sales start
November 24, 2017 / 1:37 PM / 21 days ago

US STOCKS-Wall St set for higher open as Black Friday sales start

* Macy‘s, Wal-Mart, Target slightly higher

* U.S. crude oil hits two-year high

* Futures up: Dow 64 pts, S&P 7 pts, Nasdaq 10.5 pts

* S&P, Dow aiming for first weekly gain in three (Adds details, comment, updates prices)

By Tanya Agrawal

Nov 24 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to open higher on Friday, a day after the Thanksgiving holiday, climbing with oil prices and with retail stocks in focus as Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season.

While Black Friday is typically the busiest day of the year for U.S. retailers, the stock market is likely to be relatively quiet, with an early close at 1:00 p.m. ET (1700 GMT).

By Thanksgiving evening, U.S. shoppers had splurged more than $1.52 billion online, a 16.8 percent jump over the same period last year, according to Adobe Analytics.

Surging online sales have eaten into the business of brick-and-mortar retailers, which get as much as 40 percent of their annual sales during the holiday shopping season.

Shares of Macy‘s, Kohl‘s, Wal-Mart and Target were up between 0.4 percent and 0.6 percent in premarket trading. Their biggest rival, Amazon, was up 0.7 percent.

J.C. Penney rose 1.5 percent, while electronics retailer Best Buy was up 0.9 percent.

“Retail spending and online shopping news is looking good, spurring hopes for strong retail sales,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial.

“Today’s abbreviated session is poised to move higher as focus on shopping and climbing oil prices are the key market movers of the day.”

U.S. oil prices jumped to a two-year high as North American markets tightened on the partial closure of the Keystone pipeline linking Canada and the United States.

Oil majors Exxon and Chevron were up about 0.5 percent.

Dow e-minis were up 64 points, or 0.27 percent, with 46,182 contracts changing hands at 8:18 a.m. ET.

S&P 500 e-minis were up 7 points, or 0.27 percent, with 239,373 contracts traded and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 10.5 points, or 0.16 percent, on volume of 52,290 contracts.

U.S. stocks have been hovering near record levels, with the benchmark S&P 500 up about 16 percent so far this year, helped by strong earnings, an improving economy and hopes of tax cuts by the Trump administration.

Despite a tepid Wednesday, the S&P and the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average are up 0.7 percent so far this week and, barring a sell off, are set to end higher for the first time in three weeks.

The Nasdaq Composite is up 1.2 percent this week, its best performance since the first week of October when the tech-heavy index gained 1.5 percent. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)

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