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Wall St mixed as China COVID-19 cases rise

The Nasdaq has closed lower with pressure from Apple Inc in a subdued holiday-shortened trading session for Wall Street as investors watched Black Friday sales and COVID-19 cases in China.

Apple fell 2.0 per cent on news of reduced iPhone shipments from a Foxconn plant in China in November as production was hit by coronavirus-related worker unrest.

The session focused on retailers as Black Friday sales kicked off against the backdrop of stubbornly high inflation and cooling economic growth.

Shoppers were expected to turn out in record numbers to shop for Black Friday deals but with inclement weather, crowds outside stores were thin on the traditionally busiest shopping day of the year.

US retail stocks have become a barometer of consumer confidence as inflation bites.

So far this year, the S&P 500 retail index is down a little over 30 per cent while the S&P 500 has fallen 15 per cent.

Shares of retailers Target Corp, Macy's Inc and Best Buy Co Inc were mixed while the S&P consumer discretionary index rose slightly.

"It's such a low volume trading day as most people are at home that I never count Friday after Thanksgiving," said Ed Cofrancesco, chief executive officer of International Assets Advisory, in Orlando, Florida.

Volume on US exchanges was 4.54 billion shares, compared with the 11.25 billion full-session average over the last 20 trading days.

Starting next week, investors will focus on retail sales, China's newest COVID-19 outbreak and the Federal Reserve's next steps, Cofrancesco said.

Wall street's main indexes have rallied strongly from their early October lows, with the S&P 500 up more than 15 per cent on a boost from a better-than-expected earnings season and more recently on hopes of less aggressive interest rates hikes by the US Federal Reserve.

Analysts now see a 71.1 per cent chance that the Fed will increase its key benchmark rate by 50 basis points in December, with rates peaking in June 2023.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 152.97 points, or 0.45 per cent, to 34,347.03; the S&P 500 lost 1.14 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 4,026.12; and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 58.96 points, or 0.52 per cent, to 11,226.36.

All three indexes ended the Thanksgiving week with gains, led by the Dow, which rose 1.78 per cent.

Activision Blizzard Inc plunged 4.07 per cent on a media report that the US Federal Trade Commission was likely to file an antitrust lawsuit to block Microsoft Corp's $US69 billion ($A102 billion) takeover bid for the video game publisher.

US stock markets closed early at 1pm ET, after Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 1.81-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.35-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 22 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 89 new highs and 83 new lows.