NEW YORK – Stocks rose on Friday, extending November's rally and giving the three major indexes their fifth straight week of gains, as the start of the holiday shopping period put visions of profits in investors' heads.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 15.53 points, or 0.14 percent, to end at 10,931.62. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 2.64 points, or 0.21 percent, at 1,268.25. The technology-laced Nasdaq Composite Index was up 3.03 points, or 0.13 percent, at 2,263.01.
For the week, the Dow added 1.5 percent, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq each gained 1.6 percent. For the Nasdaq, Friday's session marked its sixth straight week of gains.
For the month of November so far, the Dow is up 4.7 percent, while the S&P 500 is up 5.1 percent, and the Nasdaq is up 6.7 percent.
The New York Stock Exchange closed early on Friday at 1 p.m., and the bond market also will shut early. U.S. financial markets were closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving Day.
Both the Standard & Poor's 500 Index and the Nasdaq Composite Index hit fresh 4-1/2-year closing highs, while the blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average ended at its highest level since March.
Shares of electronics retailers Best Buy Co. Inc. (BBY) and Circuit City Stores Inc. (CC) gained as shoppers snapped up bargain-priced DVD players, TVs and other consumer electronics items for holiday giving. Best Buy jumped 3.3 percent to $50.63, while Circuit City climbed 2.4 percent to $21.38, both on the New York Stock Exchange.
The stock of iPod maker Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) gained 3.3 percent to $69.34 on Nasdaq.
While many on Wall Street were savoring a long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, bargain-crazed shoppers stormed the stores on what has become known as "Black Friday," one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Retailers typically hope that Black Friday sales will be strong enough to ensure they report a quarterly profit, instead of a loss.
"The focus is always on retailers on Black Friday, and early speculation is that concerns about early retail spending are overblown and that we're going to see a reasonable holiday season," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Asset Management.
"Looking ahead to next week, the more important question for investors will be: 'Will the market experience a holiday hangover as investors take profits?'," said Michael Sheldon, chief market strategist at New York brokerage Spencer Clarke.
Gains in retailers' shares have helped push the Standard & Poor's retail index up about 12 percent since late October. On Friday, the index rose 0.1 percent.
Shares of Target Corp. (TGT), one of the largest U.S. discount retailers, rose 0.2 percent, or 13 cents, to $55.23 on the NYSE.
The stock of Kohl's Corp. (KSS ), a moderately-priced department store chain, added 0.3 percent, or 13 cents, to $49.20 on the NYSE. Upscale department store operator Nordstrom Inc. (JWN) gained 0.6 percent, or 24 cents, to $38.20, also in NYSE trading.
The world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT - news), is expected to report preliminary November sales data on Saturday. Wal-Mart sees a 3 percent to 5 percent sales increase at its U.S. stores open at least a year.
Wal-Mart's stock, however, dipped 0.2 percent, or 8 cents, to $50.49 on the NYSE.
On Nasdaq, shares of housewares retailer Bed Bath & Beyond (Nasdaq:BBBY - news) advanced 0.2 percent, or 10 cents, to $43.18.
Shares of chip maker Intel Corp. (INTC), the world's dominant chip maker, gave the Nasdaq its second-biggest boost and also helped lift the S&P 500.
Intel's shares gained 0.6 percent, or 17 cents, to $26.81 on Nasdaq, following a report from Semiconductor International Capacity Statistics, an industry group, said the utilization rate of the world's microchip plants rose for a second straight quarter, underlining a steady recovery in the global chip industry.
Limiting the Nasdaq's gain was Dow component Microsoft Corp. (MSFT). Its stock fell 0.6 percent, or 16 cents, to $27.76 after the world's top software maker said on Wednesday that some Xbox 360 owners are reporting problems with the new video game console that debuted in North America earlier this week.
Trading was light on the NYSE, with about 541.9 million shares changing hands, sharply below last year's daily average of 1.46 billion, while on the Nasdaq, about 650.8 million shares traded, also well below last year's daily average of 1.81 billion.
Advancing stocks outnumbered declining ones by a ratio of 3 to 2 on the NYSE.
On the Nasdaq, the stocks that rose slightly edged out those that fell, with 1,454 stocks up and 1,369 stocks down.