Nov. 26 - Summary: Nasdaq retraces 13-year milestone with close above 4,000; HP reports results; A non-gentleman's duel between Jos. A Bank and Men's Wearhouse; Consumer confidence wanes but housing holds up. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Investors have one more thing to be thankful for heading into the Thanksgiving holiday... The Nasdaq is back above 4,000. It only took THIRTEEN YEARS to do so. As for the rest of Wall Street - stocks were modestly higher in pre-holiday quiet trading. The personal computer and printer market is contracting, no surprise there, but Hewlett-Packard's results did have a pleasant surprise in an uptick in sales for its enterprise business. Company-wide revenues and profits beat forecasts. As Americans prepare to go shopping, two retailers are preparing to go at each other. Men's Wearhouse now wants to buy Jos. A Bank for $1.5 billion, just two weeks after convincing Jos. A. Bank to drop its $2.3 billion bid for...Men's Wearhouse. Some analysts say a tie-up makes sense as fewer men have to dress up to go to the office. Investors agree. Shares of Men's Wearhouse climbed 7-1/2 percent and Jos. A Bank rallied over 11 percent. Sticking with a pre-holiday theme: Results at Tiffany bedazzled thanks to demand for jewelry at home and abroad. But caution at the mall. Consumer confidence continued to erode this month. Builders are rushing to boost supply before demand drops. Permits for future home building rushed to an almost 5-1/2 year high in October. Meanwhile, the cost of a single family home continues to spiral higher. September gains in the S&P/Case-Shiller index - the strongest since February 2006 - suggesting higher interest rates are not scaring off as many buyers as feared. Finally, let's wrap up with a look at Europe where stocks slipped.