Need to Know: Why this winner of a retail stock will keep on delivering

It’s the Friday before a long holiday weekend — and that’s usually enough to cheer up any weary investors out there.

It’s also a day that could see the Dow finally hit 20,000, as Friday the 13th is often luckier-than-average for stocks. A little help from big bank earnings this morning wouldn’t go amiss either.

While the Dow and S&P 500 are down this week, Thursday’s bounce off a deeper pullback shows there’s some resilience, as markets continue navigating life with PEOTUS:

“Like a pub drunk at closing time, Donald Trump threatens all sorts, but he’s impossible to take seriously. That’s why traders tend to dismiss his wacky ideas, believing either Congress or common sense will head them off at the pass, while few would oppose a sensible program of fiscal stimulus,” said Interactive Investor’s Lee Wild in a note.

On to another key event of the day: retail sales. If they come in as forecast, that could smooth the march to Dow 20K. Our call of the day takes a look at a company at the heart of many postelection shopping sprees.

Taking stock of his Christmas-shopping adventures, veteran blogger Jason Kottke has declared one clear winner: Amazon AMZN, +1.83% After running the gamut from small stores to big-box retailers, to all sorts of online sellers, he says the e-commerce giant is “miles and miles ahead of everyone else.”

In an post to the Kottke.org blog, he wonders how, more than 20 years after the invention of online retailing, Amazon seems to be the only company that’s figured out how to do it well.

“How come massive companies like Wal-Mart and Target, whose very businesses are under immense pressure from Amazon, can’t get this stuff right despite having spent hundreds of millions on it?

“I’m not a financial analyst, but unless something changes drastically, Amazon is just going to continue to eat more and more of the U.S. retail pie…”

Note that in the $ 71 billion Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF VTI, -0.26%  , Amazon is the sixth largest holding behind Apple AAPL, -0.42%  and Alphabet GOOGL, -0.04%  . In the few first days of this year, Amazon is already up nearly 9%.

Now let’s get on with the show.

Key market gauges

Dow YMH7, +0.10%  and S&P 500 ESH7, +0.10%  futures are barely higher. The Dow DJIA, -0.32%  and S&P SPX, -0.21%  closed lower, but rebounded from sharper losses. The Nasdaq Composite COMP, -0.29%  snapped a seven-session winning streak.

The dollar DXY, -0.25% is off a bit, while European SXXP, +0.58%  stocks are up, and Asia ADOW, +0.18%  was mainly down. Gold GCG7, -0.19%  and oil CLG7, -1.15%  are slipping.

See the Market Snapshot column for the latest action.

The chart

China posted a 6.1% drop in exports on Friday, the biggest since 2009, and chatter has been picking up this morning about a Trump-inspired trade war:

Earnings

It’s all-bank Friday. BlackRock BLK, -0.70%  , Bank of America BAC, -0.65%  , J.P. Morgan JPM, -0.96%  and Wells Fargo WFC, -0.55%  are all delivering earnings today.

HomeStreet HMST, -1.75%  fell in late trading Thursday after the financial services group said a rise in interest rates has hurt its mortgage business.

Read: The Trump question, and 4 other things to know about this earnings season

The buzz

Nintendo’s 7974, -5.75%  next-generation gaming console Switch will hit the shelves world-wide on March 3, with a price target of $ 299.99. But Nintendo shares fell 6% in Tokyo as the price point was slightly above market expectations.

Tesla TSLA, -0.06%  has laid out plans for how much it will cost some new electric-car buyers to use its Superchargers.

Anadarko APC, -0.15%  has agreed to sell its South Texas oil-and-gas asset to Sanchez SN, +1.40%  and Blackstone BX, -0.03%  for $ 2.3 billion.

A lawsuit that alleges Apple AAPL, -0.42%  broke the law by requiring apps be sold only through its App Store has been revived by a federal court. Apple claims it has only served as a platform to distribute the apps.

The economy

Retail sales hits at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, with expectations of a postelection boost. Producer prices hit at the same time, followed by readings on consumer sentiment and business inventories at 10 a.m. Eastern.

Philly Fed President Patrick Harker will speak at 9 a.m. Eastern.

Random reads

Guitarist who avoided fatal Buddy Holly plane crash over a coin toss dies at 85

Viral Facebook post portrays the grueling world of child care.

C-Span live feed was replaced by Russian TV for 10 minutes on Thursday

Facebook memorials set up for 12-year-old who live-streamed her own suicide

When you’re vegan and annoying, expect rejection from the Swiss

Twitter’s been poking fun at Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s new cybersecurity advisor

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