Futures drift in shortened trading session


(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures were largely muted on Friday in a shortened trading session for Thanksgiving, although Wall Street looked on course to extend its weekly winning run on optimism that U.S. interest rates have peaked.

The main three U.S. stock indexes are set for their fourth consecutive weekly gains, driven by hopes that the Federal Reserve is done hiking interest rates and signs the U.S. economy remains resilient.

The benchmark S&P 500 is about 1% away from setting a new high for the year.

Focus will be on retailers that are preparing for what they hope will be yet another record-setting global shopping spree on Black Friday, which usually marks the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season.

“Earnings from the likes of Walmart and Best Buy have noted a weakening demand environment, signaling the potential for a disappointing fourth quarter on the high-street,” noted Joshua Mahoney, chief market analyst at Scope Markets.

“Nonetheless, with spending habits having remained strong throughout this year, there is a good chance that we see consumers take advantage of sales where possible in a bid to maintain their standard of living.”

U.S. stock markets were shut on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday and will open for a truncated session ending at 1:00 p.m. ET on Friday. The market ended higher on Wednesday after reports on jobless claims, durable goods, and consumer sentiment seemed to suggest the economy is easing but may stay strong enough to avoid a recession.

S&P Global’s flash U.S. Composite Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) due at 9:45 a.m. ET is expected to show factory and services sector activity eased very slightly in November.

At 5:50 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 80 points, or 0.23%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 5 points, or 0.11%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 2 points, or 0.01%.

Among single stocks, Nvidia fell 2.1% premarket after Reuters reported the chipmaker told customers in China it was delaying the launch of a new artificial intelligence chip to comply with U.S. export rules until the first quarter of next year.

iRobot rallied 32.9% following a report that Amazon is set to win unconditional EU antitrust approval for its $1.4 billion acquisition of the robot vacuum maker.

U.S.-listed shares of Chinese electric vehicle maker Xpeng rose 4.1% after Volkswagen said it will develop a new platform for entry-level electric vehicles in China.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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