Morning Business Memo

American consumers to the rescue. The stronger-than-expected start for the holiday shopping season is a plus for stock futures after recent market misery. Last week the major stock averages lost more than 5 percent. If early morning gains hold, the Dow and Nasdaq will open up about 2 percent. Overseas markets made strong gains overnight.

More Americans took the Black Friday bait of discounts and earlier-than-usual store openings. The National Retail Federation says shoppers spent more than last year. ShopperTrak reports sales rose 7 per cent for the busiest shopping day of the year. But retailers expect promotions and discounts will be needed throughout the holiday season to keep consumers interested. Today is Cyber Monday – said to be the busiest day for online shopping.

Published reports say Germany’s Chancellor Merkel and France’s President Sarkozy are looking at legal changes – possibly amendments to the European Union’s growth and stability pact. The goal would be to force nations using the Euro to comply with strict rules for budget discipline. European leaders hope this will reduce the massive public debt that led to the crisis. But without more aggressive moves by the European Central Bank to purchase government bonds, the move may not be enough to calm markets.

New numbers on the economy this week include this morning’s report on October new home sales from the government. The monthly employment report due out on Friday.

–Richard Davies, Business Correspondent ABC NEWS Radio,

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