The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose for a fourth consecutive day on Tuesday, as last-minute Christmas shoppers primed the US economy for a strong batch of retail sales data to kick off the new year.
Wall Street’s three primary indices all rose during the holiday-shortened Christmas Eve trading session.
The stock market closes at 1 pm ET today. It will remain closed on Christmas and reopen with normal trading hours on Dec. 26.
Strong consumer spending helped fortify the US economic expansion throughout 2019. Concerns about consumer sector health began to mount toward the end of the year, after a series of conflicting data releases raised questions about whether the manufacturing recession had begun to seize a foothold in the wider economy too.
But if a stellar “Super Saturday” is any indication, the US consumer is doing just fine.
Data from research firm Customer Growth Partners reveals that the final Saturday before Christmas brought US retailers $34.4 billion in sales , making it the best day in US retail history. That easily eclipsed Black Friday 2019, which saw $31.2 billion in sales.
That may be partly due to a quirk of the calendar. Thanksgiving fell later than usual, shortening the holiday shopping season by almost a full week.
Regardless, it suggests that December’s retail sales data will point to strength in the US economy when the Census Bureau reveals the official statistics on Jan. 16.
Healthy economic data would vindicate bullish forecasts from the likes of BTIG’s Julian Emanuel, who believes the S&P 500 could surge more than 20% in 2020.
Despite rocketing nearly 40% off its Christmas Eve 2018 lows, Emanuel believes investors remained surprisingly skeptical about the sustainability of the recovery. He predicts appetites could return in next year, potentially priming the stock market for another historic year.
“We think confidence will ultimately translate into the public getting this enthusiasm for stocks which could cause prices to move as high as 3,950,” Emanuel told CNBC.
“In any great bull market, whether you think of technology in 2000 or houses over the course of the last couple of decades, it always ends or at least gets closer to the end when the public gets enthusiastic,” he continued. “We think this is the year.”
Emanuel maintains an “official” 2020 S&P 500 price target of 3,450 – a respectable, if unspectacular, 7% rise from its present level.
But he says there’s a strong possibility the S&P 500 spirals as high as 3,950, constituting a 22% surge. An equivalent move in the Dow would lift the blue-chip index to nearly 35,000, while the Nasdaq would soar as high as 10,900.