caption="Discount hunters hit a J.C. Penney store at 4 a.m. Friday at the Columbia Mall in Grand Forks, N.D."]
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.
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