U.S. equities traded higher on Friday as investors kept an eye on retailers during Black Friday as a post-election rally moved forward.
"The Trump honeymoon continues. The focus now shifts to Black Friday and holiday sales," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial. However, he said "whatever happens today will be on light volume" because several investors and traders were out celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose about 50 points, hitting a new record high, as 3M contributed the most gains. The S&P 500 also shot to a new record, trading 0.19 percent higher as utilities gained 1.2 percent to lead advancers. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.1 percent.
Several retailers kicked off Black Friday sales on Thursday. J.C. Penneyopened its doors Thursday at 3 p.m., while Macy's began sales at 5 p.m. Thursday. Retail giant Wal-Mart, meanwhile, began offering Cyber Monday deals on Friday, coming off the announcement that it would significantly increase its online inventory.
The major U.S. stock indexes have been on a tear lately, ripping to new record highs on optimism that President-elect Donald Trump's proposed policies would stimulate economic growth.
"From a technical perspective, it seems like we're going higher, ... but we're bound to hit a road block," said First Standard's Cardillo, who noted that, while the market has priced in a December Federal Reserve rate hike, it may not have priced in more aggressive tightening by the central bank. According to the CME Group's FedWatch tool, market expectations for a rate hike next month are more than 90 percent.
U.S. Treasury yields and the dollar have also risen sharply since the election, with the benchmark 10-year note yield skyrocketing above 2 percent and the greenback trading around levels not seen since 2003, putting euro/dollar parity within reach. Gold prices, in turn, have turned sharply lower, hitting nine-and-a-half month lows.