Retail in Focus on Black Friday

US stock futures point to a higher open on Black Friday in what will be a shortened trading day. The stock market will close at 1pm ET. With a lack of economic data today, traders will be watching indications of how the retail sector performs on the biggest shopping day of the year.

On Wednesday, stocks reached two-day highs on light volume. After Monday’s potent rally that followed Friday’s reversal, traders were anticipating some rest and digestion ahead of the holiday. The fact that markets rose on Tuesday and Wednesday, albeit only modestly and on dwindling volume, can be considered a very constructive sign for bulls.

Retailers have begun opening earlier and earlier for Black Friday shopping, with many opening last night to a frenzy. Shares of stocks like Target (NYSE:TGT), Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) could be active during today’s abbreviated session.

When full trading resumes next week the fiscal cliff negotiations will be back in focus. For the market to build on its recent resurgence, lawmakers will need to continue to show a willingness to compromise. If nothing else, the action over the last month has proven that the market is still in a fragile state during this slow economic recovery.

By John Darsie and Pete Renzulli

Disclosure: Pete Renzulli has no positions

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