christmas-gift-ornaments-grfx.jpgThe US holiday shopping season got off to an encouraging start, with sales on the day after Thanksgiving up 3% from last year. “Under these circumstances, to start off the season in this fashion is truly amazing and is a testament to the resiliency of the American consumer, and undeniably proves a willingness to spend,” said Bill Martin, co-founder of ShopperTrak. (Read details in BBC News)

In other economic news, Wall Street climbed again Friday, wrapping up its biggest five-day rally in more than 75 years. It was the first time the Dow rose for five consecutive sessions since July 2007, and the biggest five-day percentage gain over five sessions since 8 August 1932. (AP story at KansasCityStar)

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