Drop in jobless claims, rise in homes sales boost hopes for economy; Dow hits 13-month high

Stocks push higher after drop in jobless claims

Shopping hordes on Black Friday make a big difference for retailers _ and the economy

The nuts and bolts of Black Friday

NEW YORK — The nation’s stores usher in the traditional start of the holiday shopping season Friday with extended hours, freebies and deep discounts on everything from toys to flat-panel TVs.

Black Friday in more practical times: Stores mark down the socks along with the HDTVs

Stores look to basics to draw in holiday shoppers

Early winners for holiday shopping season: electronic book readers, hot video games, the snood

Holiday Shopping Notebook

NEW YORK — The season’s traditional kickoff isn’t quite here, but already some winners have emerged, from electronic book readers and hot pink netbooks to shimmery tops and the “snood,” a hood-scarf hybrid that resembles a babushka.

Drop in weekly jobless claims, rise in sales of new homes lift investors’ hopes for economy

Stocks rise following drop in jobless claims

Grocery chain Kroger joins Black Friday competition with gift card offer

Grocer offers its first Black Friday promotion

Amtrak trains will be busy with travelers ahead of Thanksgiving holiday

Amtrak trains to be busy with travelers

WASHINGTON — Attention Amtrak passengers, expect crowded trains.

Skip the plane, take the train? More Americans looking for cheaper Thanksgiving travel options

Americans search for cheaper Thanksgiving trips

Hotels, inns in sales-tax-free NH hope out-of-staters will stay and shop on Black Friday

Sales-tax-free NH seeks out-of-state shoppers

Americans remain gloomy heading into holiday shopping; bad sign for retailers, economy

Americans gloomy on economy heading into holidays

The Black Friday conundrum: When are the deals worth the crowds, early hours, checkout lines?

Smart Spending: When Black Friday is worth effort

Consumer safety group warns parents about toy hazards in preparation for holiday shopping

Consumer group warns about toy hazards

WASHINGTON — Holiday shoppers should look out for toy hazards such as small parts, loud sounds, soft plastics and lead contamination, consumer advocates warned Tuesday.

Consumer confidence seen holding steady; shoppers still gloomy as holidays approach

Ahead of the Bell: Consumer Confidence

NEW YORK — A preliminary report on consumer confidence is expected to hold steady in November compared with October, maintaining a gloomy mood as the traditional start to the holiday season begins Friday.

Nov. clothing sales weaken compared with 2008’s clearance sales, but electronics, online rise

Clothing sales down Nov., but online roars back

Retailers stretch out online deals throughout holiday weekend, plan more for Cyber Monday

Retailers look to stretch out Cyber Monday push

AP-GfK Poll: More like Scrooge than Santa: Stress over debts could hold back holiday shoppers

AP-GfK Poll: Debt turning shoppers into Scrooges

AP Poll: More like Scrooge than Santa: Stress over debts could hold back holiday shoppers

AP Poll: Debt stress turns shoppers into Scrooges

Retail gas prices fall overnight as Thanksgiving travelers prepare to hit the road

Gas prices fall to begin busy travel week

Retail gasoline prices headed downward in most places to begin one of the country’s busiest travel weeks, with more than 33 million people expected to hit the road for the Thanksgiving holiday.

QVC to get competitive on ‘Black Friday’ for the first time with special items and deals

TV retailer QVC joins ‘Black Friday’ frenzy

Little thanks expected this holiday at NYC airports, nation’s worst air travel bottleneck

Holidays will again test NYC air travel bottleneck

Investors to look for more clarity on economy as holiday-shortened week brings flurry of data

Investors look to data-heavy week for more clarity

More Americans expected to travel for Thanksgiving after last year’s drop; most opt for car

More Americans expected to travel for Thanksgiving

Postal Service to allow volunteers in Alaska town to write ‘Dear Santa’ responses

Postal Service to resume North Pole Santa letters

Senator: Postal Service to allow volunteers in Alaska town to write ‘Dear Santa’ responses

Senator: USPS to resume North Pole Santa letters

AP News in Brief

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