Stocks were little changed on a short trading day, amid lower volumes as traders took time off a day after Thanksgiving.
But gold got slammed, falling for a sixth straight week and to a fresh five-year low.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 17,810.69, -2.70, (-0.02%)
- S&P 500: 2,091.28, +2.41, (0.12%)
- Nasdaq: 5,128.14, +12.00, (0.23%)
And now, Friday’s top stories:
- Gold tanked. Futures in New York fell by just over 1%, or $13.20 an ounce, to as low as $1,051.20. It was the sixth straight week of a decline, and the longest such streak since August. Silver fell by about 1% to $13.90 an ounce. Gold has fallen about 10% since late October, when the Federal Reserve’s policy statement said that it would consider raising interest rates at its next meeting in December. The US dollar index climbed a bit, to as high as 100.20.
- Disney shares fell 3% after the company said ESPN was losing subscribers by the millions. In regulatory filings made on Wednesday, Disney said ESPN’s subscriber base fell 3% year-on-year to 92 million subscribers as of October 3, from 95 million last year, and 99 million in 2013. The cable industry is in some turmoil right now, as more and more consumers opt for on-demand and streaming services instead of cable bundles. Other media stocks fell, including Viacom (-3%) and Twenty-First Century First (-1%).
- Chinese stocks got slammed, with the Shanghai Composite index closing down 5%. The sell-off intensified after Bloomberg and Reuters reported that several brokerage firms were being investigated for alleged violations of regulations. Shares of the largest brokerage firm, Citic Securities, and Guosen Securities, each fell 10%. This latest news indicates that the government’s anti-corruption campaign is widening.
- The Swiss franc also suffered a blow. It suddenly fell by as much as 0.65% against the dollar, and o.5% against the euro, for no immediate, obvious reason. Switzerland’s central bank has been intervening in the market to prevent the franc from rallying too much. In January, a jump in the Swiss franc shook global markets after the central bank unexpectedly removed the currency’s peg against the euro.
- SunTrust analysts say Thanksgiving Day shopping was a “bust”. “We note that traffic seemed below last year both on- and off-mall,” analysts wrote in a client note on Friday. “Members of our team who went to the malls first had no problem finding parking or navigating stores. Crowds were tame and, with some exceptions there seemed to be more browsing than buying and less items purchased.” They said American Eagle and Old Navy were among the winners, while Gap (which owns Old Navy) and New York & Company were losers.
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