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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.

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Former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg during an interview at his office in Lake Mary, Florida

Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Orlando Sentinel/TNS

ORLANDO, Fla. – Joel Greenberg, Seminole County’s disgraced former tax collector, has agreed to plead guilty to six federal crimes — including sex trafficking of a child — in a deal that calls for him to cooperate with federal investigators, according to a source with knowledge of the agreement. The deal, which will be made official during a Monday morning court hearing Greenberg is required to attend, marks a turning point in the sprawling federal investigation that has roiled Florida politics and reportedly taken aim at Greenberg’s friend and ally U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz. In addition to traffic...

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