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Knowledge Update

US stocks end at record highs on Black Friday

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New York, Nov 26 (IANS) US stocks rallied on Friday, with all three major indices refreshing closing records, as investors continued to digest the Federal Reserve's minutes from its November meeting.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 68.96 points, or 0.36 per cent, to 19,152.14. The S&P 500 added 8.63 points, or 0.39 per cent, to 2,213.35. The Nasdaq Composite Index increased 18.24 points, or 0.34 per cent, to 5,398.92, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to the minutes released on Wednesday afternoon, US real gross domestic product (GDP) expanded at a faster pace in the third quarter than in the first half of the year and labour market conditions continued to strengthen in recent months.

"(Federal Open Market Committee) Members generally agreed that the case for an increase in the policy rate had continued to strengthen. However, members emphasised that the actual path of the federal funds rate would depend on the economic outlook as informed by incoming data," said the minutes.

Meanwhile, investors also kept a close eye on retailers during Black Friday. Online shopping on Thanksgiving Day itself delivered $1.15 billion in sales, an increase of 13.6 per cent over last year, according to Adobe Systems Inc.

US stock markets were closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday and closed at 1 p.m. local time (1800 GMT) for Black Friday.

On the economic front, the international trade deficit was $62.0 billion in October, up $5.5 billion from $56.5 billion in September, the Commerce Department announced on Friday.

For the holiday-shortened week, all three major indices posted solid gains, with the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq going up 1.5 per cent, 1.4 per cent and 1.6 per cent, respectively.