U.S. stocks followed the Asian markets higher on Tuesday morning. Japan’s Nikkei gained over 1 percent as the country’s third quarter cap-ex spending jumped over 11 percent, giving investors confidence to buy.
China’s Shanghai composite also closed higher, but only by 0.3 percent. Once again, end of session buyers stepped in at the last half hour to bring the close into positive territory.
European indices were mixed by midday. The U.K. FTSE was higher after the Bank of England stated that all seven major banks passed stress tests. Germany’s DAX was lower by 0.2 percent and the French CAC was flat.
At the opening bell in New York, the S&P 500 moved up 10 points to 2,090, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 78 points to trade near 17,798 and the Nasdaq increased by 20 points to 5,128. Auto sales for November will be trickling out today and so far General Motors has reported its U.S. sales rose 1.5 percent and Fiat Chrysler said its U.S. sales rose 3 percent. November new vehicle sales may hit a record for the month.
Amazon stock is rising over 1 percent to $672 after the online retailer said it had record sales for original Amazon devices like the Echo, and Fire tablets and televisions. Fire tablet sales were up by more than three times this past holiday weekend over last year’s holiday weekend. The Echo was the number one best-seller across all products priced over $100. Amazon Fire TV sales are up over six times year-over-year for the holiday weekend.
This year may be remembered in retailing as the year Black Friday faded away. ShopperTrak, a global provider of consumer behavior, reported that Black Friday sales for brick-and-mortar retail dropped 10.4 percent from last year. The company did note that last year fewer stores opened on Thanksgiving Day and that a later Hanukkah could be pushing sales into December. Still, with the huge increase in online shopping, Black Friday is losing its importance to holiday shopping.
Looking ahead, Ascena Retail Group will report its earnings after the market close on Tuesday. The earnings per share estimate from FactSet is 28 cents and the sales estimate is $1.777 billion. Ascena recently acquired the Ann Taylor chain for $2.15 billion in cash and stock. The stock dropped over 4 percent on Monday to $11.33 ahead of the earnings.