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Stock Market Update for November 23rd, 2012

November 23, 2012

Stocks moved higher at the start of trading on Friday, adding to the modest gains posted in the previous session. The major averages showed notable moves to the upside, although buying interest has waned since the open.

The major averages have not seen much follow-through on their initial upward move but remain firmly positive. The Dow is up 60.60 points or 0.5 percent at 12,897.49, the Nasdaq is up 19.36 points or 0.7 percent at 2,945.91 and the S&P 500 is up 6.69 points or 0.5 percent at 1,397.72.

The initial strength on Wall Street came as traders continued to pick up stocks at reduced levels following the sell-off that has been seen in the weeks since the elections.

Positive sentiment was also generated by a report from the Ifo Institute showing an unexpected improvement in German business confidence in the month of November.

The headline business climate index rose to 101.4 in November from 100 in October, while economists had expected the index to fall to 99.5.

Investors are also keeping an eye on developments in the retail sector, attempting to gauge the strength of the holiday shopping season on reports regarding the Black Friday crowds.

A number of retailers opened their doors even earlier than usual this year in order to increase sales on what is already one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Trading activity is likely to be subdued, however, as many traders remain away from their desks following the Thanksgiving Day holiday on Thursday. The abbreviated trading session, which ends at 1 pm ET, is also likely to lead to light volume.

Nonetheless, significant strength has emerged among networking stocks, as reflected by the 2.8 percent gain being posted by the NYSE Arca Networking Index. Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) has helped to lead the sector higher, surging up by 14.5 percent.

Tobacco, semiconductor, and computer hardware stocks are also seeing early strength, while most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves.

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