Stocks up on Black Friday

Friday, November 23, 2012 - 10:00am

U.S. stocks moved higher Friday, as investors watched the nation's shopping malls for signs of consumer strength during the holiday shopping season.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq all moved up between 0.4% and 0.6%.

Many Americans have already raced to shopping malls to get holiday bargains for Black Friday, the traditional kickoff to the holiday shopping season. Leading retailers Wal-Mart and Target opened at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, and large crowds were reported at those stores and others.

During a Friday morning interview with CNN, Toys "R" US CEO Jerry Storch said the long lines at stores were probably a sign that "people do feel a little more relaxed about the economy." Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren, also speaking on CNN, said he enjoyed watching the "stream of humanity" flow into his stores.

Besides monitoring American consumers, there's little market-moving news expected out of the U.S. on the holiday-shortened trading day, so investors are also turning attention to Europe and the continued questions over Greece's finances.

European finance ministers failed to finalize the details of a debt-reduction package for Greece before the close of their meeting Wednesday. The officials had been expected to agree to release the funds for Greece so it would be able to make payments due in December.

Worries over the next steps in Europe continue to offset some positive economic numbers and signs out of the United States.

U.S. markets were closed Thursday for Thanksgiving. Stocks finished higher Wednesday as investors focused on positive U.S. economic numbers.

European stocks were higher in morning trading. Asian markets closed with gains.

Companies: Shares of BlackBerry maker Research in Motion moved up 11% following a report by Canadian brokerage firm National Bank Financial that anticipates sales of the BlackBerry 10 smartphone, due to roll out early next year, will be better than expected.

Hostess Brands received approval from a bankruptcy judge Wednesday to shut down and begin selling off its assets.

Currencies and commodities: The dollar fell against the euro, British pound and Japanese yen.

Oil for January delivery rose 19 cents to $87.57 a barrel.

Gold futures for December delivery climbed $5.30 to $1,733.70 an ounce.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury stayed put at 1.68%.

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