Stock futures mixed ahead of holiday trading

Stock futures were mixed early Friday as US investors brace for a shortened Black Friday trading day.

At around 7:15 a.m. ET, the S&P 500 and Dow futures were up about 0.2%, while Nasdaq futures were down 0.1%.

US stock market closes at 1:00pm ET on Friday; Financial markets in the US were closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving.

Stocks ended in gains on Wednesday, the last full trading session of the week, after minutes from the Fed’s last meeting signaled a likely slowdown in the pace of rate hikes at the central bank’s December meeting.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell attends a news conference in Washington, DC, the United States, on November 2, 2022.  The US Federal Reserve on Wednesday delivered its fourth straight three-quarter-point rate hike amid the worst inflation in four decades.  (Photo by Liu Jie/Xinhua via Getty Images)

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell attends a news conference in Washington, DC, the United States, on November 2, 2022. The US Federal Reserve on Wednesday delivered its fourth straight three-quarter-point rate hike amid the worst inflation in four decades. (Photo by Liu Jie/Xinhua via Getty Images)

No major economic data or earnings reports are expected in the US, although investors and analysts will likely await early reports on how consumer demand is shaping up over the Black Friday holiday.

Data from Adobe Analytics released earlier this week showed consumer spending rose 0.1% year over year in the first three weeks of November.

Energy markets remain the focus of investors, with WTI crude up about 2% early Friday to $79.70 a barrel, a rebound after a nearly 5% drop in oil prices on Wednesday.

In overseas markets, equities in Europe were on track to post a sixth straight week of gains.

Investors also shared news overnight that the People’s Bank of China would cut its reserve requirements for the second time this year in a bid to stimulate the economy.

After weakening earlier this week, the dollar staged a modest rally early in the trading day on Friday.

In company news, Manchester United (MANU) shares rose as much as 10% early Friday after rising 25% on Wednesday amid continued reports of a possible sale of the English football club by the Glazer family, who also own the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are doing the rounds.

As US investors look towards the end of November and the end of a challenging year in financial markets, Yahoo Finance’s Jared Blikre writes in Friday’s Morning Brief that history suggests more upbeat times could lie ahead for market bulls.

During the period spanning the Tuesday before Thanksgiving through the second trading day of the New Year, the S&P 500 has been higher 81% of the time since 1950. And in years when stocks are up during that period, the index gains 3.8% on average.

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