Stocks Opened Higher on Upbeat Global Data

Stocks started modestly higher on Friday on signs of progress in talks about releasing aid to Greece, and with the U.S. retail sector in focus as the holiday shopping season begins.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 60.7 points, or 0.5%, to 12,896. The S&P 500 index rose 6.2 points, or 0.4%, to 1,397.1 and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 16.5 points, or 0.6%, to 2,943.

Cyprus’ government briefed trade unions Friday on the contents of a bailout that the country is expected to agree with international creditors, in a deal that will make the country the fifth member of the group of 17 European Union nations that use the euro to receive international help with their debts.

Oil prices extended their falls Friday as a cease-fire agreement between Israel and the militant Hamas group that stopped weeklong fighting in the Gaza Strip continued to hold. Benchmark crude for January delivery was down 28 cents to $87.10 per barrel at midday in London in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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