Wall Street gears up for jolly Black Friday

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
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A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Wall Street is feeling the magic of the holiday shopping season.

As consumer sentiment wanes and concern rises over end-of-the-year growth, most finance industry pros believe Black Friday will kick off a solid sales run. Both sales for the day and the holiday season are likely to grow at least 2 percent to 4 percent, according to a survey this week from New York-based brokerage ConvergEx.

Much of the benefit will come to online outfits, according to responses from 276 professionals, 60 percent of whom see e-commerce as the fastest-growing retail sector. Warehouses were second with 13 percent and department stores third at 11 percent.

Hot products are likely to be electronics (38 percent), followed by computers and tablets (22 percent) and phones (16 percent).

"Wall Street is ready for a great holiday season," Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx, said in a statement. "Our respondents are overwhelmingly calling for growth in Black Friday sales, and they believe in the continued importance of these numbers as a window into retail and the wider economy."

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Fully 49 percent of respondents said spending will be up in the 2 percent to 6 percent range, with 32 percent saying 2 percent to 4 percent and 17 percent predicting 4 percent to 6 percent. The forecast is about in line with the National Retail Federation, which is predicting a 4.1 percent gain.

Asked how much they will spend on their spouses or significant others, the answers coalesced around $900, (though one generous hotshot on the Street projected spending $250,000). In relative terms, that's a pretty nice sum, especially considering Main Street spending remains conservative.

The average total spending for Christmas shoppers this year is $720, a shade higher than 2013's $704, according to a recent Gallup survey. Only 25 percent plan on spending more than $1,000, while 19 percent are budgeting just $100 to $249. Overall, the results would track to a spending increase in the 3 percent range, Gallup said.

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Wall Streeters believe Black Friday is an important gauge both of holiday spending and the state of the economy.

About 51 percent said sales for the day are either a strong or very strong economic gauge, while 74 percent fell into the same two categories on whether it's an important retail indicator.

"This is a survey of big numbers for both Main Street and Wall Street," Colas said. "When you combine significant year-on-year growth for retail, spurred by electronics and e-commerce, and big presents for loved ones at home, you're describing a very happy holiday both personally and professionally."