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New York (AFP) – U.S. stocks on Friday opened higher in a holiday-shortened session following better eurozone economic data and positive early assessments of “Black Friday” sales by some leading retailers.

Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 34.16 (0.21 percent) at 16,131.49.

The broad-based S&P 500 tacked on 2.77 (0.15 percent) at 1,810.00, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 16.24 (0.40 percent) to 4,060.99.

The gains followed a drop in eurozone unemployment to 12.1 percent in October from 12.2 percent in September. Inflation also rose, easing concerns about deflation somewhat.

Meanwhile, retail giants Wal-Mart Stores and Target both reported “record” openings to the critical “Black Friday” shopping weekend, which kicks off the critical holiday shopping period.

Dow member Walmart said total sales on Thanksgiving Day exceeded last year’s total of 22 million customer served.

“Our Black Friday events were bigger, better, faster, cheaper and safer than ever,” said Walmart chief executive Bill Simon. “More customers chose us, we had the prices and products they were looking for, and we’re not finished yet.”

Trading volume was expected to be light on Friday, and markets will close early.

Photo by Mediamodifier from Pixabay

Reprinted with permission from TomDispatch

When it rains, pieces of glass, pottery, and metal rise through the mud in the hills surrounding my Maryland home. The other day, I walked outside barefoot to fetch one of my kid's shoes and a pottery shard stabbed me in the heel. Nursing a minor infection, I wondered how long that fragment dated back.

A neighbor of mine found what he said looked like a cartridge case from an old percussion-cap rifle in his pumpkin patch. He told us that the battle of Monocacy had been fought on these grounds in July 1864, with 1,300 Union and 900 Confederate troops killed or wounded here. The stuff that surfaces in my fields when it storms may or may not be battle artifacts, but it does remind me that the past lingers and that modern America was formed in a civil war.

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