Wall Street comes back to a shortened trading session today to round out the holiday week. In Wednesday's session, the Dow added 48 points to 12,837. The S&P gained 3 points, while the Nasdaq surged nearly 10. The key averages have gained 2 to 2.6 percent for the week, coming into today's session. Futures trading suggests slight gains this morning.
- International stock markets saw little movement today amid holidays in the U.S. and Japan, although traders kept an eye on Americans hitting the stores for the start of the biggest shopping season of the year. Benchmark crude oil slipped but remains above $87.25. The dollar fell against the euro and the yen.
- Retailers are hoping that earlier openings, including pushing Black Friday into Thursday in some cases, will help boost holiday sales. It is unclear how many shoppers took advantage it, but about 17 percent of shoppers said earlier this month that they planned to shop at stores that opened on Thanksgiving.
- Efforts to make long-term spending plans for the 27-nation European Union continue under the specter of possible failure. While heavyweights like Britain and France are pulling in opposite directions, smaller members are threatening to veto a deal in order to make themselves heard. Negotiators will try to navigate the myriad of demands on the second day of the meeting today.
- Wal-Mart's Indian joint venture says it suspended several employees pending a corruption investigation. Wal-Mart runs 18 wholesale outlets with Indian partner Bharti Enterprises. Its aggressive plans to move into direct retailing may be slowed by the corruption probe. Wal-Mart said this month that it is investigating possible violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in India, China and Brazil. The company is already embroiled in scandal over its Mexico subsidiary.