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Black Friday, Red Pre-Market

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Friday, November 23, 2018

Welcome to Black Friday, otherwise known as “take your belt hole out another notch” day. Of course, Black Friday relates to the time of year when retailers can finally turn a yearly profit after months of inventory build, thus changing the ink on their ledgers from red to black. It’s also a time for outstanding deals at retailers from Target (TGT - Free Report) to Tiffany’s (TIF - Free Report) , including holiday season staple Macy’s (M - Free Report) .

Black Friday is not what it once was, however. Discounts on merchandise now begin Thanksgiving night, and online giants like Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) are prepared to match discounts at the big box stores today and through Cyber Monday next week. Competition is fierce, which can at times betray a joyous and peaceful holiday spirit, but hey — I can get a hot item for 60% off today? I’ll take it!

We are seeing pre-market trading down again today. Lower oil prices are taking headlines this morning — approaching $50 per barrel on WTI futures and sub-$60 per barrel on the Brent — which heightens market participants’ concerns that economic softening on a global scale will be turning toward recessionary levels.

There’s no concrete reason to believe this is the case; it would appear a new supply glut is a matter of production management which had fairly recently been successfully addressed by OPEC, and may be dealt with in such a way again. But investors do not like to see precipitous drops in crude oil prices, and they are showing their displeasure now.

Brexit took a step closer to reality yesterday. An announcement by European Council President Donald Tusk said Great Britain has reached an agreement with the European Union (EU) on Thursday to leave the economic bloc and go it alone. This may be considered a win for Theresa May and her government, whose support had been wavering in recent months.

Britain is now scheduled to leave the EU next March, after having voted on the measure in the summer of 2016. We shall see if support for May’s government continues once Brexit is a reality.

As Zacks Executive VP Kevin Matras explains for us this morning, the G-20 summit next week will feature a hotly anticipated meeting between President Trump and China’s President Xi, the two principles of the ongoing trade war between the top two economies in the world. It’s not so much that we believe a conversation and a handshake can put to bed all of our trade disagreements, but any steps toward such an end would likely be received well by major market indexes.

But that’s next week. Until then, have a lovely weekend — and make sure not to get trampled by any door-buster sales!

Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

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