The key averages are in positive territory to begin the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up in today's early going. The Nasdaq Composite Index is ahead and the Standard-and-Poor's 500 Stock Index is up a fraction.
Investors are reacting to some lackluster retail sales reports, amid continued digestion of a Bush administration plan to address the subprime mortgage crisis.
Monthly sales numbers indicate the holiday shopping season is off to a shaky start. Wal-Mart Stores topped expectations, but other retailers are reporting disappointing results.
Investors await President Bush's announcement of the plan to freeze interest rates for up to five years for some subprime borrowers. The agreement caps talks between the Treasury Department, mortgage lenders and Wall Street banks.
The number of laid off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits fell last week by the largest amount in three months. Benefits dipped by 15,000 last week to a total of 338,000.