Here are 10 things you should know for Friday, Nov. 29:
1.-- U.S. stock futures were pointing to a higher start for Wall Street on Black Friday, the traditional first day of the Christmas shopping season.
Stock markets in the U.S. will close Friday at 1 p.m. EST.
European shares were trading flat following a surprise decline in retail sales in Germany. Asian stocks ended the session mixed. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.4%.
2.-- The economic calendar in the U.S. Friday is bare.
3.-- U.S. stocks on Wednesday closed higher with the S&P 500 gaining 0.25% to 1,807.23 to extend the benchmark gauge's 2013 advance to 26.7%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.15% to 16,097.3. The Nasdaq jumped 0.67% to 4,044.75.
U.S. Markets were closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Internal candidate Tony Bates and former Nokia (NOK) CEO Stephen Elop remain in the mix, Bloomberg reported, but they're currently considered less likely to be offered the job to replace Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who said in August he would retire within the next 12 months.
ADM, which owns a stake of nearly 20% in GrainCorp, offered to buy the remaining 80% of the company last year. A sweetened offer in May amounted to 12.20 Australian dollars ($12.63) a share in cash, giving GrainCorp a value of AU$3.4 billion. 6.-- Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) has been tapped to replace Verizon's (VZ) Terremark subsidiary as the Web-hosting provider for HealthCare.gov, the troubled federal health-insurance marketplace. The Department of Health and Human Services won't renew its contract with Terremark and instead awarded a new contract over the summer to HP, according to The Wall Street Journal.
7.-- Online sales as of 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving were up about 11.5% from last year, according to a report from IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark. Mobile traffic increased more than 31% while smartphones accounted for 24% of all online traffic, according to IBM.
"When Bob was appointed president of our largest market, our plan was for him to help prepare his successor," Dan Akerson, GM chairman and CEO, said in a statement Friday. "Matt is now ready to step into the role and we wish Bob the best in his retirement." 9.-- Google's (GOOG) practice of combining personal data from its many different online services violates Dutch data protection law, the country's privacy watchdog said Thursday after a seven-month investigation, Reuters reported. 10.-- The Baltimore Ravens beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, their AFC North rival, 22-20 on Thanksgiving night. The win moved the Ravens to 6-6. The Steelers fell to 5-7.
Earlier in the day, the Detroit Lions topped the Green Bay Packers, 40-10, and the Dallas Cowboys beat the Oakland Raiders, 31-24.
-- Written by Joseph Woelfel