November 28th, 2008
04:03 PM ET

The economy rolls on – between the holiday and terrorism

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.l.cnn.net/money/2008/11/28/news/economy/blackfriday_2008/jcpenney_2.03.jpg
caption="Discount hunters hit a J.C. Penney store at 4 a.m. Friday at the Columbia Mall in Grand Forks, N.D."]
Andrew Torgin
CNN Business News Producer

Stocks were up again today – the Dow jumped another 102 points. They’re on their best winning streak since April, posting a fifth straight gain in a row.

Gas prices fell again, about a penny to a national average of $1.84 a gallon. That’s the 72nd consecutive decrease. AAA says the last time the national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was near the current price was January 21, 2005, when the average was $1.835. Seven states have regular unleaded gas prices of $2 and higher; 43 states have prices below $2.

Crude was down about $1 this morning, around $53 a barrel, as a gloomy outlook for global crude demand overshadowed hopes OPEC will announce a production at an informal meeting Saturday in Cairo. Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez on Wednesday called on OPEC to cut production by 1 million barrels a day.

We’ll be looking at what a potential production cut by OPEC may mean for oil and gasoline prices.

By the way, taxpayers who believe their economic stimulus checks went astray must update their addresses with the IRS by today. The IRS said last month that it was looking for taxpayers who may have lost out on more than 279,000 stimulus checks worth about $163 million due to mailing address errors. The undeliverable checks averaged $583. Taxpayers can find out the status of their checks and receive instructions on updates by using the "Where's My Stimulus Payment?" link on the IRS Web site, or calling 1-866-234-2942.

And of course, today is “Black Friday” and the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. Many bargain hunters gathered early this morning to snag special deals from anxious merchants, but despite what looks likes a promising start, one analyst cautioned that the early buying frenzy could fizzle, or once the “doorbuster” deals that are only offered for a few hours were over.

Many retailers’ survivability depends not only on having the biggest, boldest “Black Friday” sales they've ever had, but also on making sure that the holiday shopping season doesn't begin and end in a single day.

So enjoy those special deals.

Filed under: Andrew Torgan • Economy
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. J.V.Hodgson

    Crude oil barrel prices at $147 were driven not by fundamental economics of the cost of production/ distribution and fair profit in the supply chain, but by greed and speculation by hedge funds and others.
    Opec and other oil rich nations are using Economic blackmail to use a strong perhaps radical sound bite.
    Profits of Opec and Oil companies soared by Billions ( probably trillions) and thier contribution to sustainable energy development crudely put ( enjoy the pun) is frankly a cheap skate PR and advertising campaign with minor cost and and totally underfunded resources staff and research into alternative energy, these enrgy companies have a serious role in developing and reseaching alternative energy in the interests of thier shareholders in the longer term.
    A couple of ideas which you can call regulation if you like but I call common sense at least in the medium term
    1) the EU, USA and Canada, South America, Japan + China and the rest of Asia, and the Russian areas of Europe and Asia set up a buying agency which buys up production en bloc initially from local sources for local supply and demand, then sells on to the various blocks as needed at negotiated prices and reasonable profit. The power of negotiation of these buyers keeps the cap on unreasonable demands from any one source with excess supply, and removes speculators.
    2) Oil companies drilling and Distribution are required to invest in sustainable energy research and development and given tax breaks in such research and development, similarly with Car companies in developing improved fuel efficient cars. This spreads the cost over time and speeds the move to sustainablke energy resources in future.
    4) Force Oil companies to develop fields in order of cost of production, with tax breaks if necessary, and where gas ) bot gasoline is also available.
    3) Get the IMF and world bank involved to help nations in need of Oil now to convert to sustainable energy as necessary.
    Idealistic, Socialist, too much regulation, NO common sense and fair, and helps solve the global economic crisis in a big way, and removes huge price fluctuations based on rumous of supply interruption put out by speculators in the market.
    You can combine that with all sorts of other good ideas on the blogs.

    November 29, 2008 at 12:08 am |
  2. Leonardo Carneiro

    To Whom It May Concern:

    Stocks and commodity prices are primary concern in the current liquidity crisis where business owners are cautious on new expenditures and wondering where the crisis will end. Slowing the demand for manufactured products and raw materials across the Globe.

    Hopefully, by the action of US Treasury; businesses and banks will accommodate their capital needs, allowing consumers to more freely spend their money and not worry too much.

    Another important point is the working capital much needed by businesses, where banks have raised the underwriting principals making harder the access of cash. It slows the apatite of new ventures or any increments in production.

    I am very optimistic in regards of next year, once I believe this plan will be very successful in reviving the US economy, where by the way, has all fundamentals to succeed with the capital injection planed by the Government.

    It will bring commodity prices back to normal prices and boost US stocks in the coming five years.

    More importantly is the underwriting principal chances narrowing the credit access. Is good to remember that 750 billion dollars will be wisely spent not generating inflation or commodities baubles.

    Best Regards,

    November 28, 2008 at 9:55 pm |