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No big rally...Oil edges higher...Holiday shopping season's importance slips


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NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street traders sometimes root for year-end "Santa Claus rallies," but on Friday, hardly a creature was stirring. Stocks finished slightly higher on the quietest full day of trading in more than a year. The Dow picked up 15 points, closing at 19,933. The S&P 500 gained nearly 3 points to end the day at 2,263. And the Nasdaq rose 15 points to 5,462.

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil futures are a little higher. Benchmark U.S. crude added 7 cents yesterday to close at $53.02 a barrel in New York. At the same time, Brent crude, the international standard, rose 11 cents to close at $55.16 a barrel in London.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nine managers fired by Whole Foods supermarkets for allegedly manipulating a bonus program are filing a class-action lawsuit against the grocery chain. The lawsuit filed this week in D.C. Superior Court claims the managers were fired for blowing the whistle on a company-wide practice of not paying bonuses earned by employees.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first treatment for children and adults with spinal muscular atrophy, a rare genetic disorder marked by progressive muscle weakness that's the most common genetic cause of death in infants. The drug, Spinraza, was approved after granting it fast-track status. It was developed by Ionis Pharmaceuticals of Carlsbad, California, and Biogen of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Biogen will market it.

NEW YORK (AP) — The importance of the holiday shopping season is slipping a bit. November and December now account for less than 21 percent of annual retail sales at physical stores, down from a peak of over 25 percent. Experts believe it'll keep dropping thanks to a number of factors. Many people are shopping for the holidays all year long now. Heavy discounting has diluted sales, and with big promotions throughout the year, shoppers no longer hold off making their biggest purchases until the holidays.

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