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U.S. stocks mixed on Friday but end holiday week on high note

By Liz Moyer -- U.S. stocks ended the week higher as retailers pinned their hopes on the official start to holiday shopping.

At 13:08 ET ( 18.08 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 153 points or 0.45%, while the S&P 500 was down flat, and the NASDAQ Composite was down 0.5%.

It was the Dow's third straight day of gains.

While the so-called Black Friday sales started a few weeks ago, this weekend is traditionally the kick-start to what retailers hope is a strong sales season. But recent earnings reports from big U.S. retailers show a mixed bag.

Consumers are still spending despite inflation, but lower income households have been making tradeoffs for necessities versus discretionary purchases. And retailers have still been dealing with excess inventory by offering big promotions to clear it out.

The National Retail Federation expects 166 million people to shop from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday. Shares of Walmart Inc. (NYSE:WMT) and Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) rose 0.4% and were flat, respectively.

Americans are also traveling this weekend in numbers approaching the time before the pandemic. The Transportation Security Administration said more than 2.45M people went through its airport security screens on Wednesday, just shy of the 2019 level.

American Airlines Group (NASDAQ:AAL) shares rose 0.6%, while United Airlines Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:UAL) shares rose 1.7%.

The Federal Reserve meets next month to decide the next path for interest rates after raising its benchmark rate 0.75 percentage point at each of its last four meetings. Wall Street now expects the central bank will raise rates again, but perhaps at a smaller half-percentage point increment.

Oil fell. Crude Oil WTI Futures fell 1.7% to $76.59 a barrel, while Brent Oil Futures crude fell 0.4% to $85.04 a barrel. Gold Futures was up 0.4% to $1753.

Wall Street stock trading closed at 13:00 ET after being closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving.

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