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S&P closes little changed as chips boost Nasdaq in subdued holiday trading

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November 11, 2021

By Stephen Culp

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The S&P 500 ended only nominally higher on Thursday, with chipmakers helping push the Nasdaq into green territory in a muted Veterans Day session, the day after hotter-than-expected inflation reports dampened investor sentiment and halted a streak of record closing highs.

Walt Disney Co, falling in the wake of a disappointing earnings report, dragged the Dow into the red.

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The bond market was closed in observance of Veterans Day, and in the absence of economic data and with third-quarter earnings season winding down, there were few catalysts to move markets in either direction.

“Days like today are really hard to judge because you essentially have half the market closed,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia. “Specific company and industry events are driving today’s markets.”

“There will be a lot more trading tomorrow than today, so we’ll have to wait and see what will happen,” Tuz added.

Investors were favoring growth over value, and economically sensitive smallcaps and chips were outperforming the broader market.

The Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index gained 1.9%, bouncing back from its worst session in more than six weeks, driven by gains in Nvidia Corp after brokerage Susquehanna raised the chipmaker’s price target.

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Market participants were digesting recent inflation data, which suggested that the current wave of price spikes due to chronic worldwide supply challenges could have more staying power than many – including the U.S. Federal Reserve – had hoped.

With consumer sentiment data expected tomorrow and a string of retailers due to report quarterly earnings over the next few weeks, focus is shifting to consumer spending as the holiday shopping season approaches.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 158.71 points, or 0.44%, to 35,921.23, the S&P 500 gained 2.56 points, or 0.06%, to 4,649.27 and the Nasdaq Composite added 81.58 points, or 0.52%, to 15,704.28.

Among the 11 major sectors of the S&P 500, six closed higher, with materials leading the gainers. Utilities suffered the largest percentage loss.

Shares of Walt Disney Co sank 7.1% and were the heaviest drag on the Dow following its disappointing earnings release, in which the media company reported shortfalls in streaming subscribers and theme park revenues.

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Electric automaker Rivian Automotive Inc’s shares jumped 22.1% a day after closing 29.1% above its offer price in its debut as a publicly traded company.

Rival Lucid Group Inc’s shares surged by 10.4%.

But Tesla Inc slipped 0.4% following news that CEO Elon Musk sold about $5 billion of the stock in the company over the last few days, following his infamous Twitter poll on whether he should shed 10% of his shares in the firm he founded.

Dillard’s Inc gained 10.0% after handily beating quarterly earnings and revenue forecasts. Fellow department stores Macy’s Inc and Nordstrom Inc, which have yet to report quarterly results, rose between 2% and 3.6%.

Tapestry Inc gained 8.4% after the luxury fashion accessories firm boosted its annual sales forecast and announced a $1 billion share buyback plan.

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Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.37-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.40-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 15 new 52-week highs and 6 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 114 new highs and 125 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 9.61 billion shares, compared with the 10.91 billion average over the last 20 trading days.

(Reporting by Stephen Culp; additional reporting by Devik Jain and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Diane Craft)

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‘Flash mob’ thieves target U.S. retail stores on Black Friday

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November 28, 2021

By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Black Friday shoppers weren’t the only ones out hunting for bargains on the day after Thanksgiving. Thieves were busy as well.

Police in Los Angeles and cities elsewhere across the country spent much of their holiday weekend patrols looking for suspects in a spate of “flash mob” robberies on Friday, part of a surging U.S. crime trend in which groups of thieves swarm a store, ransack the shelves and flee.

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Authorities also have used the term “smash-and-grab” to describe the trend.

At least two such robberies were reported on Saturday by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. A local television station, KCAL-TV, counted a total of six smash-and-grab heists on the city’s west side alone on Friday.

In one incident, a group of eight men entered a Home Depot outlet at a shopping mall in Lakewood, south of downtown Los Angeles, walked directly to the tool aisle and snatched a bunch of hammers, sledgehammers and crowbars valued at about $400 before making their getaway, the sheriff’s office said.

According to L.A. television station KTTV, the Home Depot robbery on Friday night involved up to 20 suspects who pulled up to the store in as many as 10 cars and donned ski masks before raiding the tool aisle.

“We tried to stop them,” store employee Luis Romo told KTTV. “We closed the front entrance, and they put their sledgehammers up and whoever got in the way, they were going to hurt them.”

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The Los Angeles City News Service said four suspects in that robbery were arrested on Saturday by Beverly Hills police.

In a similar incident Friday afternoon, a group of 10 men or more invaded a store in the city’s Fairfax district and started grabbing merchandise without paying for it, pushing employees out of the way before fleeing the scene, according to LAPD.

Police are investigating possible ties between that incident and a flurry of other robberies and retail thefts on Friday and earlier in the week, including two smash-and-grabs reported on Wednesday, an LAPD spokesperson said.

The rash of retail crime prompted the LAPD to place its officers on a citywide tactical alert on Friday afternoon.

Mass robberies also were reported on Friday at two Best Buy electronics stores in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, one of them involving as many as 30 suspects, while a spree of pre-dawn retail burglaries were under investigation in Chicago.

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In one of the biggest flash-mob robberies reported on the West Coast in recent days, police in the San Francisco suburb of Walnut Creek were seeking about 80 suspects who swarmed and ransacked a department store last Saturday.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Paul Simao)

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U.S. Black Friday shoppers tapered online splurge, as some returned to stores

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November 27, 2021

By Arriana McLymore and Richa Naidu

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) – U.S. shoppers spent slightly less online during Black Friday this year, with many venturing back to physical stores despite coronavirus fears, tight supplies, and retailers’ efforts to encourage earlier holiday purchases.

For the first time ever, spending online during Black Friday – traditionally one of the biggest shopping days of the year – fell, reversing the growth of recent years, according to data from Adobe Analytics, a wing of Adobe’s business that specializes in data insights and tracks transactions at 80 of the top 100 U.S. retailers.

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Retailers lured shoppers to make holiday purchases online as early as September this year, because the supply-chain logjam has prevented them from quickly replenishing year-end merchandise. Shoppers’ total outlay online during Black Friday was roughly $8.9 billion, less than the $9 billion in 2020, Adobe said. Spending online during Thanksgiving Day was flat at $5.1 billion, Adobe said.

Many retailers closed physical stores on Thanksgiving this year, as they did in 2020, amid a labor shortage and the coronavirus pandemic. Stores reopened the day after Thanksgiving, and shopper visits increased by 47.5% compared to 2020, but fell by 28.3% when compared to 2019, the last pre-pandemic year, according to data from Sensormatic Solutions.

Supply-chain challenges and shipping delays may have prompted shoppers to visit stores in order to increase the chances of securing gifts in time for Christmas. More are making purchases online that they can pick up in-store, which keeps shipping costs down.

Macy’s, Walmart, Target and Kohl’s, for example, gave shoppers the flexibility to shop online, in stores or through hybrid methods, walked away as winners on Black Friday, said Louis Navellier, chairman of investor Navellier & Associates.

Of those purchasing online, slightly more used their smartphones. Canadian e-commerce company Shopify said the number of shoppers on its platform who used smartphones to make purchases increased this year to 72% from 67% last year.

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Retailers’ moves to encourage buying holiday gifts earlier could also lessen the importance of Cyber Monday, the first Monday after Thanksgiving.

(Reporting by Arriana McLymore and Richa Naidu, Aakriti Bhalla and Sabahatjahan Contractor in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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Canada’s Shopify records Black Friday sales up 21%

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November 27, 2021

(Reuters) – Canadian e-commerce company Shopify Inc recorded worldwide sales of nearly $2.9 billion on Black Friday, an increase of about 21% in comparison to last year, the company said Saturday.

New York, London and Los Angeles were among the top-selling cities, the company said, while apparel and accessories was the top-selling product category.

Shopify also said it funded 23,000+ tonnes of carbon removal to counteract emissions from the delivery of every order placed on its platform on Black Friday.

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(Reporting by Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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