- Long lines of people began forming by Thursday afternoon outside of retailers like Best Buy and Target, among others, as shoppers got ready for Black Friday.
- Equities finished the shortened trading week with strong weekly gains.
U.S. equities rose on Friday as investors placed bets on a strong holiday shopping season.
The hit record highs, rising 0.2 percent to 2,602.42 with information technology as the best-performing sector. Macy's was among the best-performing stocks in the index. The S&P 500 also closed above 2,600 for the first time.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 31.81 points to finish at 23,557.99, with Visa leading advancers on the 30-stock index. The Dow also closed near a record closing high.
Long lines of people began forming by Thursday afternoon outside of retailers like Best Buy and Target, among others, as shoppers got ready for Black Friday. Digital sales were also robust, according to Adobe Analytics. The company said U.S. consumers had already spent more than $1.52 billion online by 5 p.m. ET on Thanksgiving evening.
"It's all about the shopping numbers," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial. He said they will likely translate into strong consumer spending numbers. "That's good for the economy."
Shares of Macy's, Nordstrom and Kohl's all closed higher. Overall, traditional retail stocks have taken a hit this year as more people shift to online shopping outlets, helping Amazon increase its market share.
The SPDR S&P Retail exchange-traded fund (XRT) is down 5.8 percent for 2017.
U.S. markets were closed on Thursday due to the Thanksgiving holiday, but equities finished the shortened trading week with strong gains. The S&P 500 and Dow rose 0.9 percent, while the Nasdaq posted a 1.6 percent weekly gain.
Stocks got a boost from rising tech stocks this week, as the sector advanced 1.8 percent. Some investors also placed bets that corporate tax cuts would keep the current economic expansion going, but skepticism remains as to whether the GOP-led Congress will be able to pass a bill before year-end.
"The proposed fiscal stimulus faces another hurdle next week when the Senate takes up its own version of the legislation," said Jeremy Klein, chief market strategist at FBN Securities.
"I maintain that the implementation of something meaningful is an intractable problem given the concerns surrounding the Federal deficit, the [state and local tax] deduction, and the Affordable Care Act," Klein said.
—CNBC's Lauren Thomas contributed to this report.