By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Investors will get a glimpse of consumer health next week as the holiday shopping season gets under way with Black Friday sales, and a solid start could help equities steady after several tumultuous weeks.
The day after Thanksgiving has been regarded as the traditional start of the holiday buying season, although deals and bargains are being unveiled earlier this year.
Wall Street has been struggling with uncertainty over U.S. congressional midterm elections, the path of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, tariffs, the trade war and the possibility corporate earnings have already peaked. But a strong start to the gift buying season could help ease some concerns.
After an October that saw the S&P 500 (SPX) slump nearly 7 percent, Wall Street has struggled to find its footing, rising 0.7 percent so far in November. That puts the index on pace for its biggest quarterly loss since the third quarter of 2015 and its worst fourth quarter performance in a decade.
About 38 percent of American consumers plan to shop on Black Friday this year, and six in 10 of those shoppers anticipate making at least half of their holiday purchases on that day, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Thursday.