Stocks opened up strong this morning and held their gains until the closing bell, a response to reports of strong Black Friday sales to start the holiday shopping season. The Dow Jones finished up over 260 points, just under 2.6%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq soared even more at a 3.5% increase, with a total gain of over 86 points. The large increases for both exchanges is primarily due to stronger than expected Black Friday sales, which increased 6.6% over sales compared to last year. Additionally, real-time Cyber Monday sales are trending to increased over 20% from last year, with online retailer Amazon.com gaining the overwhelming portion of increased sales, particularly with its new Kindle e-reader/tablet combo device.
Black Friday sales are often treated as a predictor of overall holiday spending, and if this year’s record sales are any indication, retailers are in for their best holiday shopping season since the Great Recession began in fall 2008. Consumer electronics products are a strong segment of overall holiday spending, and this year’s Black Friday sales data are indicating that retailers will gain an even higher share of their income and profits from technology devices this year.