Wal-Mart (WMT) to increase minimum wage, Tesla (TSLA) will release new roadster and MasterCard (MA) released holiday spending report.

Markets closed higher on Friday amidst light Holiday trading. Shares of Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) ended their weekly trading on a higher note after the company announced that it would be raising minimum wage for it’s workers in the coming year. The rate increase will go into effect in 21 states on January 1, 2015 and will involve nearly 1,400 stores. The raise will also affect over 200 Sam’s Club stores. The pay increase is being implemented to comply with laws in those states where the minimum wage rate has been increased. The company plans on shrinking the gap between the minimum wage employees and those associates in higher skilled positions. A manager at Wal-Mart, said, “Essentially that wage compression at the upper level of the hourly associate is going to help absorb that cost of the wage increase at the lower level.”

Shares of Tesla Motors (TSLA) closed up over 2.5% on Friday after the company announced that the new roadster is going to cover two-thirds more miles on a single charge. The electric car-maker will be launching a new model that will allow the car to travel over 400 miles on one charge. The company will be displaying the new model during a drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles in early 2015. The current roadster can travel nearly 245 miles with a single-charge.

MasterCard Inc. (MA) closed slightly higher after the company released their holiday spending report. The data showed that overall retail sales were up 5.5% from Black Friday through December 24. The biggest boost was on lodging and restaurants. Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president at MasterCard, said that the two categories posted double-digit gains. She continued to say that the data shows that there is a growing trend in “the consumer-wanting experience” over actual goods. The “economy is very strong but they are spending in a different way,” Quinlan said. Sales from electronics were nearly flat on electronics. There was also growth in furniture and jewelry.

That’s all for today,

Warren Gates, Normandy Research

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