A short Thanksgiving trading week begins with the Dow at 12,588. Last week saw the fourth straight weekly decline for the blue chip index, but it did end on a positive note. The Dow gained 46 points Friday, after congressional leaders reported progress in talks with President Barack Obama about cutting the government's budget deficit. Futures trading suggests gains this morning.
- International stock markets rose today, registering optimism after negotiations late last week between President Barack Obama and leaders of Congress raised hopes the U.S. would avoid its "fiscal cliff" before the end-of-the-year deadline. Benchmark crude oil rose to near $88 per barrel. The dollar fell against the euro and was unchanged against the yen.
- Data on the housing market highlights the economic reports this holiday week. Today, the National Association of Realtors releases its report on existing home sales for October, while the National Association of Home Builders is out with its November housing market index. Tomorrow, the government reports on housing starts for October.
- Americans are pulling out the plastic more and ponying up on-time payments less. The credit reporting agency TransUnion says the average credit card debt per borrower in the U.S. grew 4.9 percent in the July-to-September period from a year earlier. At the same time, the rate of credit card payments at least 90 days overdue hit 0.75 percent, up from 0.71 percent in the third quarter of last year.
- The fate of the Twinkie may hang in the balance as heads to a bankruptcy courtroom in New York today to start the process of selling itself. The company has been weighed down by debt, management turmoil, rising labor costs and the changing tastes of America. But analysts say there's money in the iconic confections that could attract a buyer.
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