Stock Market News for November 29, 2010

Markets fell during Friday’s shortened trading session as worries about European finances kept jittery investors off stocks. Across the Atlantic, as the USS George Washington moved into the Yellow Sea, a belligerent North Korea warned that the United States and South Korea’s joint military exercise could plunge the region into war.

The Dow average, the 30-share blue-chip average, dropped 95.28 points, or 0.85%, to 11092. The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell more than 8 points, or 0.3%, to 2543.56. The widely followed S&P 500 index fell almost 9 points, or 0.8% to 1189.40.

Although Ireland’s acceptance of a bailout last week helped contain fears of a contagion, fresh worries emerged that Spain, too, would need a financial aid package. However, Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said the country was not seeking a bailout. Portugal, meanwhile, announced that it was initiating fresh austerity measures aimed at reducing debt even as investors continued to sell Portuguese bonds.

All ten S&P industry sectors closed with losses Friday, led by a drop of 1.2% in Materials shares. Shares in energy and financial companies fell 1.2% and 1.1%, respectively. However, Consumer Staples shares had a relatively moderate loss, dropping only 0.6%.

However, markets in Asia were somewhat in upbeat mood at the beginning of a new week today. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225-stock average moved up 0.9% and the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong rose 1.3%.

With the start of the Cyber Monday shopping today, some preliminary numbers suggest heightened online purchasing activity. Meanwhile, ShopperTrak noted that retail sales rose a very modest 0.3% on Black Friday while foot traffic rose 2.2%. However, ShopperTrak was also of the view that early discounting could have pulled some of the Black Friday sales into early November.

A number of earnings reports are also due today, with retailers Aeropostale (NYSE:ARO) and Kroger (NYSE:KR) set to report toward the middle of the week.

AEROPOSTALE INC (ARO): Free Stock Analysis Report
KROGER CO (KR): Free Stock Analysis Report

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