Hardly any volatility on US stock markets

bull 150x100 Hardly any volatility on US stock marketsUS stock markets showed hardly any movement on Friday. Investors on Wall Street processed some macro-economic data, including US retail sales and consumer confidence in the United States. The Dow Jones ended 0.2 percent lower at 17 621 points. The S & P 500 dropped 0.1 percent to 2037 points. The technology exchange Nasdaq climbed 0.1 percent to 4682 points.

Confidence

Consumer confidence in November rose further according to a provisional figure reported by the University of Michigan. The index that measures confidence, recorded the highest level since July 2007. This positive mood among US consumers may be beneficial for the spending in the major upcoming holiday period. Consumer spending accounts for nearly 70 percent of the US economy.

Retail

Figures from the US Department of Commerce showed that retail sales in October rose 0.3 percent on a monthly basis in contradiction to the decline in retail sales by 0.3 percent in September.

Merger

Baker Hughes, a service provider to the oil and gas industry, rose 2.3 percent. The company confirmed preliminary discussions with rival Halliburton (plus 2.7 percent) about a merger. Thursday Baker Hughes share rose 15 percent.

Miscellaneous

Chip Machine manufacturer Applied Materials showed an increase of 0.9 percent despite cautious expectations.

Clothing chain Nordstrom rose 1.1 percent after it showed better than expected quarterly results.

Nike, a producer of sportswear, lost 0.8 percent after a downgrade.

Motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson just got an upgrade and rose 1 percent.

Euro and oil

The Euro stood at $ 1.2529, against $ 1.2488 at the close in Europe. The price of a barrel of US oil rose 1.8 percent to $ 75.97. Brent gained 2.1 percent to $ 79.56.