JaysonPhotography/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Wall Street finished about level on Friday, on a half day of trading, though the Dow Jones Industrial Average squeezed out a new record-high close.
The Dow gained 0.49, finishing the day at 17828.24.
The Nasdaq climbed 4.31 to 4791.63, while the S&P 500 slipped off of a record close on Wednesday, dipping 5.27 to 2067.56.
On Thursday, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries announced that they would keep their oil production targets where they had been set, despite a higher than expected supply of oil on the markets. That decision sent oil prices tumbling, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Consumers were expected to spend Friday taking advantage of Black Friday deals at numerous retailers, though discounts being offered online have eaten into the turnout at some brick-and-mortar stores.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The frenzy of Black Friday shopping is often about excitement and tradition, but don't buy into all the hype. There are some things that may seem like a great deal, but aren't.
Deals site DealNews.com recommends that you wait on buying eleven products until after Black Friday. Like always, take any advice with a grain of salt, as these recommendations are based on DealNews' historical data and anecdotal experience. And if you are in need of something immediately, sometimes it might be worth paying a little more to check it off your list.
1. Winter gear
These items, including coats and boots, often have deeper discounts during winter clearance sales in January and March.
2. Designer clothing
People who love designer clothing labels should stick to outlet shopping on Black Friday, according to DealNews, because high-end clothiers don't really offer great "sales."
Otherwise, shoppers could get not-so-great discounts of 20 to 30 percent off on designer clothing, which DealNews calls "yawn-worthy."
3. Latest Amazon Fire tablets
While you can likely find deals on Amazon's older Fire tablets, you likely won't find many great discounts on the newest Fire lineup, according to DealNews. Last year, during Cyber Week, DealNews saw only two discounts on the then-new Kindle Fire HDX.
4. High-end laptops
While November may be a great month to buy laptops, shoppers should hold off on "powerhouse" computing machines.
"High-performance machines that boast a powerful CPU like Intel's Core i7 models actually see better prices during the summer back-to-school sales," DealNews' features writer Marcy Bonebright states.
July and September can offer deals that are 9 percent cheaper (about $50 on average) than even November's best deals, DealNews states.
While there may be great Black Friday deals on cheap household hand tools, last year, there were 16 percent more tool offers in December than those of November, according to DealNews.
6. Gift cards
"Discounted gift cards practically rain from the sky in December, especially those from iTunes," according to Bonebright. "Last year, we saw so many gift card deals in December, we had to publish a weekly feature just to keep track of them all."
7. Brand-name smart TVs
While Black Friday's door-buster (read: very early) deals often feature deep discounts on flat-screen televisions, brand-name TVs tend to have better prices after the Consumer Electronics Show. During that January event, manufacturers reveal their new product lineups in Las Vegas. But, DealNews points out, last year the best 55" name-brand TV deal came in September, which was 10 percent cheaper than November's best deal.
8. Airline and vacation packages
While there are some "superior" hotel discounts on Black Friday, you might want to refrain from booking a flight or planning a vacation. DealNews recommends planning travel for January, which offers a higher number of deals.
9. Exercise equipment
"December consistently sees an uptick in both the quantity of exercise equipment offers and the quality," writes Bonebright. Last year, DealNews marked almost 30 percent of December sports deals as Editors' Choice, compared to just 15 percent in November.
10. Chocolates and flowers
November 2013 had the fewest offers in this category all year, according to DealNews. Better stick to the bigger gift-giving holidays of Christmas and Valentine's Day, DealNews says.
11. Home and patio furniture
Most retailers discount these items heavily in the warmer months. The number of home furniture deals increase in July and August with patio furniture clearance sales "dominating" in August and September, Bonebright writes.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Waking up at the crack of dawn and fighting off hordes of people for a deal is a surefire way to work up an appetite. So restaurants are capitalizing on all the shoppers this Black Friday by offering freebies and deals to customers. Keep the good prices rolling all day with these food finds.
Bonefish Grill: Enjoy brunch dishes such as Creme Brulee French Toast and Bang Bang Shrimp Eggs Benedict – usually only available on Sundays – and receive a $20 Bonefish Grill gift card free with the purchase of $100 in gift cards.
Chili's Grill & Bar: Chili's email club members can choose a free kids meal, dessert or appetizer (entree purchase required), or a free upgrade from pick two to pick three fajitas with coupon. To become an email club member, visit www.chilisemailclub.com.
LongHorn Steakhouse: Buy one $50 gift card and get a coupon for $10 off of two adult dinner entrees through Dec. 24.
Maggiano’s Little Italy: Maggiano’s email club members can get a coupon for $10 off $30 purchase. To join the Maggiano’s email club, visit www.maggianos.com/email/register.
Olive Garden: Receive $5 off two dinner entrees on Friday after 4pm with this coupon.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Prepare some turkey leftovers and brace yourself for one of the busiest shopping days of the year. But this year's black Friday deals aren't only available in stores, continuing a trend toward earlier and more online deals.
As in previous years, the best deals may only be a quick click away, or months away if you can wait for winter clearance deals. Before you plan to buy, check your local store for restrictions, limited supplies, cut-off times and don't forget comparison shopping. Many doorbuster deals will go very quickly unless you line up early, but ask yourself: is this worth losing sleep?
With that in mind, here are some noteworthy black Friday deals:
Amazon launched "Eight Days of Black Friday deals" last Friday, including three "covered deals of the day" at midnight on Thanksgiving and then again on Friday. Deals include up to 45 percent off select Samsung TVs:
- Samsung 40-inch Smart 1080p LED TV for $328
- Samsung 55-inch Curved Smart 4K Ultra HD LED TV for $1,298.
Amazon Prime members receive 30 minutes of early access to select "lightning deals," which can be added as often as every 10 minutes.
On Friday only, Amazon shoppers get up to 40 percent off TaylorMade golf driver clubs.
Amazon customers can shop and give to the charity of their choice. Through smile.amazon.com/blackfriday, Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase to your favorite charity.
Barnes & Noble
In Barnes & Noble stores and online, customers can buy one and get 50 percent off on educational toys and games and 50 percent off gift books. The bookseller says it's offering the "largest-of-its-kind" signed edition book collection for in-store customers with 500,000 signed editions from 100 leading authors at stores nationwide on Friday.
On Black Friday, if you spend more than $45, you will receive a Black Box full of stocking-stuffer items for the holidays (worth at least $45).
Best Buy's Black Friday doorbusters started 5 p.m. on Thursday, and doors re-open at 8 a.m. on Friday. In-store only deals include a $199.99 Panasonic 50-inch LED HDTV. Blu-ray discs for $9.99 including "Maleficent" and "How to Train Your Dragon 2."
Closed on Thanksgiving, BJ's will open at 7 a.m. on Friday with deals including these through Sunday:
- $300 off $749.99 for Canon EOS Rebel T5 18MP 3” LCD Digital DSLR Camera Bundle with EF-S 18-55 mm IS II Lens, EF 75-300 III Lens, 16 GB SD, and bag
- $200 off $879.99 for Vizio 55-inch M-Series Smart 1080p LED HDTV.
Online men's custom suit maker Black Lapel is offering a three-part sale this Friday, which will be the company's first sale ever.
You can buy any suit and get a shirt free on Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, buy any two shirts and get any silk knit tie free.
Get $15 off an iTunes gift card bundle pack or buy an iPad air and get a $40 iTunes gift card.
Closed on Thanksgiving, but opening doors at 12:01 a.m. Black Friday, video game lovers get on Friday and Saturday only the Xbox One Assassin’s Creed Bundle for $329.99 (save $70), which includes digital copies of Assassin’s Creed Unity and Assassin’s Creed Black Flag.
- PlayStation 4 Limited Edition Bundle for $399 (save $100), which includes Grand Theft Auto V and a digital copy of The Last of Us Remastered.
- Super Mario 3D World Bundle for WiiU for $299.99, which includes the 32GB WiiU Deluxe Set, Super Mario 3D World and Nintendo Land video games.
- Save $30 off popular PlayStation 4 and Xbox One titles, such as The Evil Within, Sleeping Dogs and Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor.
Closed on Thanksgiving, Home Depot will sell 99 cent poinsettias on Friday, normally about $8. The company says it will sell 3.75 million poinsettias this Black Friday.
Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores
All black Friday Doorbusters will be available Wednesday. Doorbusters are planned for Saturday, as well, when stores will open at 7 a.m.
Wednesday and Friday all Cozy Flannel Solids and Snuggle Flannel Prints are 75 percent off - the lowest price of the year on those items. On Saturday, all Anti-Pill Solids and Prints are 70 percent off, which represents their lowest price of the year, as well.
Kohl's is discounting toys, clothes, electronics and kitchenware. Shoppers can receive $15 Kohls cash for every $50 spent.
Closed on Thanksgiving, Lowe's leaked its black Friday offers on Vine for the first time. You can view all of the Vine videos here. Deals include:
- GT 35-inch steel firepit 27404, for $39 from $63 to $95
- Studio Sync Speaker Shelf 631802, for $49.98 from $79.98
- SHOP-VAC 12-gallon 6.0 PEAK HP VAC 549713, for $39.98 from $99.98
- 6.5-foot Pre-Lit Color Changing LED Artificial Tree 585557 for $59 from $159.
Closed on Thanksgiving, customers can get emails on Thursday and Friday about specific online Black Friday deals for apparel, accessories, shoes and cosmetics.
Nordstrom's “Like it to lower the price” allows customers to “control” the price by liking Instagram posts. If Nordstrom gets 25,000 likes, the company will lower the price of Ivanka Trump Hewerly Moto Boots by $90 for all customers starting Thursday, while supplies last.
In addition to electronics deals, RadioShack will match “any printed competitor’s price for any item on this page,” plus give customers an extra 10 percent off.
Sam’s Club members get deals online and in-club on Friday. Pick up a new iPhone 6 16 GB for just $99, which requires a two-year contract. Or buy a four-pack of $25 iTunes gift cards for $79.
Discounted electronics are among the goodies at Sears, starting Thursday at 6 p.m. including saving $100 on a KitchenAid Professional Stand Mixer, for $199.99. Doorbuster coupons give you $10 off $40 clothing, accessories, sleepwear and fine jewelry.
(The device requires three AA batteries, which are not included.)
Amazon Fire TV Stick
There are a lot of great streaming options on the market, including Apple TV, Roku and Google Chromecast.
Amazon is the latest to join the group with its Fire TV Stick, and it doesn't disappoint.
Simply plug the USB stick into your TV, use the remote to go through a fairly quick set-up process, and then you'll be able to stream Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and other media sources directly to your television, just like the other aforementioned streamers.
Games are where the Fire TV stick stands out.
Flappy Birds Family, Toy Story: Smash It!, Monsters University and others are available, with the remote acting as the game controller.
Here's the good news: The Amazon Fire TV stick is a steal at $39.
The bad: It's currently sold out, so if you haven't ordered one already, you won't receive your Fire TV stick until they're back in stock on Jan. 15.
Koss Portable Speaker
This small but powerful speaker can easily fill a room.
The device syncs up to Bluetooth, allowing users to play DJ from their phone, tablet or computer.
This device will turn your smartphone into a portable breathalyzer -- and let you manage your drinking throughout the night.
The team behind Alcohoot says the tiny device uses the same high-grade fuel cell censors as law enforcement to provide users with much more accurate readings. It can be used up to 500 times before having to be charged again, according to the company.
Download the Alcohoot app, plug the device into your smartphone, attach a mouthpiece and blow for a few seconds before the app calculates your BAC.
As an added safety bonus, Uber, Lyft and other taxi services are integrated into the app, making sure everyone has a safe and responsible night.
Alcohoot retails for $99.
Sol Republic Tracks
There are plenty of great headphone choices on the market, but Sol Republic's Tracks stand out for their ability to be customized.
Perfect for a tech savvy fashionista, it's incredibly easy to swap out the headband, cables and speakers to create a look that matches your outfit or mood.
Bonus: The twistable headband makes it easy to slip a pair of headphones into stockings of all sizes.
Sol Republic's Tracks start at $99.99 with customizable parts sold separately.
It's the hot item on everyone's list -- but what if you don't want to shell out big bucks for a more advanced GoPro?
The company's Hero model packs all of the basic features we've come to love from Go Pro and is the perfect entry-level camera.
Weighing in at 3.9 ounces, the Hero can shoot high definition video and capture 5 megapixel photos at five frames per second. It's also waterproof down to 131-feet.
The Hero retails for $129.99. Mounts are not included, however they start at $14.99 on GoPro's website.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- No more stolen packages this holiday season. Doorman is a new service that receives packages on your behalf and delivers them until midnight, seven days a week.
An estimated one billion packages are expected to be delivered this year by UPS, FedEx, and the U.S. Postal Service combined, according to estimates from those companies. And last holiday season, more than two million deliveries were delayed, or went missing due to front porch theft. Doorman's founder and CEO Zander Adell said he's determined to address this issue.
"It’s been a problem my entire life," he said. "One day after missing a delivery twice, I thought there's got to be a way where we can control deliveries from our phones."
Rather than missing a delivery or becoming a victim of package theft, Doorman allows you, the customer, to control deliveries from your smartphone.
Once you install the app, you'll get a unique shipping address for your package. When ordering from a retail site, just enter Doorman's address into the shipping info instead of your own.
"That address goes directly to our warehouse," Adell said. "When it arrives we can associate it with your account."
Doorman is currently serving the San Francisco area. The company has plans to launch in both New York and Chicago in 2015.
Once you schedule your delivery time you'll receive a notification and updates on your shipment status. One of seven drivers in San Francisco will communicate with you through the app, then hand-deliver your package directly to you.
Customers can sign up for the $19-a-month plan for unlimited delivery with a two-hour window, or $29-a-month unlimited for a one-hour delivery window with unlimited package returns. The one-time a la carte option costs $3.99, which includes two-hour delivery.
Shopper Jill Newquist of San Francisco agreed that Doorman could solve her package delivery problems.
"It sounds like a great idea,” said Newquist, noting she was a recent victim of package theft. “I don’t mind having small items delivered to my office address. But with larger items, I’d like to have those sent to my house. It offers security that you’re going to get what you want when you ask for it."
Since launching earlier this year, Doorman has already delivered more than 5,000 packages, Adell said. The company has delivered 1,500 packages in October alone.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Call it a "Fire sale."
Amazon is selling an unlocked version of its Fire phone at a slashed price in the hope Black Friday shoppers will give the widely panned device a chance.
With $250 knocked off list price, an unlocked Fire phone now retails for $199. The price is a sweet spot in the wireless industry, with competing smartphones such as the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and Samsung's Galaxy Note 4 starting at around that amount for customers who also choose a two-year contract.
Three months after its debut, the Fire, which featured what Amazon called "breakthrough" technology, was being sold for 99 cents with a contract.
Amazon revealed in its quarterly earnings call last month that it took a charge of $170 million for "inventory evaluation and supplier commitment costs" for the Fire, which failed to create a spark in the smartphone market.
Critics have said the Fire is less a phone and more a "shopping machine" designed to capture more Amazon customers.
It's equipped with a feature that allows users to identify almost any product -- from a book to a game or a container of kosher salt. It then directs users to Amazon to make purchases. The phone also boasts a 3-D display ideal for gamers.
User reviews of the phone have been mixed, with customers writing on Amazon they were "extremely sad and dissatisfied" and "I wanted to love you" to "five stars."
Despite the Fire troubles, Amazon is enjoying tremendous success with its $39 Amazon Fire TV stick. The device, which allows users to stream media on their television and play games with a remote control, is on back order until January 15, according to Amazon's website.
bhofack2/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Whole Foods stores in four states in the southwestern U.S. are recalling a vegan pumpkin pie products that the company says were mislabeled.
According to a press release from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Vegan pumpking pie products sold in Whole Foods stores in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas contain "undeclared walnuts." Both full- and half-pies were sold in clear packaging and brown, Kraft paper boxes.
The products had "sell by" dates between Oct. 27 and November 30.
The FDA says that there have been no reported allergic reactions or illnesses linked to the sale of the product. Anyone who has purchases the pies from a Whole Foods store in the four affected states can bring a receipt into the store for a full refund.
Photo by Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post via Getty Images(RENO, Nev.) -- Citing a recent court decision, ridesharing company Uber said that it would temporarily suspend service in the state of Nevada.
On Tuesday, a Washoe County District Court judge issued an injunction against the company, preventing it from operating statewide. In a blog post on the company website, Uber blamed "confusion about ridesharing and how uberX is helping provide a completely new model to meet Nevadans' transportation needs.
"Beginning tonight," Uber said, "nearly 1,000 jobs disappeared in Nevada and those residents lost their ability to earn a living. Still, the company reassured Nevadans, "Uber is in this for the long-term and we are committed to the people of the Silver State.
The blog post also praised Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, calling him "a known champion for innovation and job creation," in describing their future operations in the state.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With Thanksgiving fast approaching, the only thing standing between you and and a healthy heap of mashed potatoes may be a friendly travel agent and a cross-country flight.
But on some of the busiest travel days of the year, navigating the airport can be tricky.
Here are a seven tips to keep your journey (hopefully) headache-free:
Print your boarding pass ahead of time.
Download your airline’s mobile app.
If you are carrying-on a gift, do yourself a favor: leave it unwrapped in case the Transportation Security Administration needs to check it out.
If you are putting valuables through TSA carry-on screening, tape your business card to them in case you accidentally leave them behind.
Sign up for TSA pre-check so you can fly through security lines -- with your shoes on.
Make sure your carry-on bag fits by checking ahead of time. And if the agent asks you to gate check it, listen -- nothing delays a departure like having to take bags back off a full plane.
If you want more legroom, think about paying for an economy plus seat, which often comes with a better boarding time.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- More than 46 million Americans who are expected to travel more than 50 miles away from home in the coming days may have to contend with wintry weather throwing a wrench in their plans.
No one likes being stuck in an airport or traffic jam on Thanksgiving, however, there are some ways to make the best of an unfortunate travel situation.
Here are seven of the best boredom busting apps. Start playing them and before you know it, you'll be at your destination and ready for a Thanksgiving feast.
Dumb Ways to Die 2: The Games
Sure the title is a bit morbid for such a joyous holiday, but this game is an incredibly fun way to pass the time.
Based on a viral public service announcement from Metro Trains in Melbourne, Australia, the goal is to save a cast of characters from dangerous situations while racking up points.
The latest version of the game includes new levels, such as electric fence hurdles, a dolphin rodeo and a javelin catch.
Dumb Ways to Die 2: The Games is available for iOS devices, along with the first, equally addicting version of the game.
The first version of the game is also available for Android devices.
The best part of NinJump dash is that you'll compete against three other opponents in real time who can be your Facebook friends or random challengers from around the world.
Dress your character in a fun costume (chicken suit, anyone?) and get your game face on, as you race your fellow players, jumping over obstacles, shooting rockets and tossing throwing stars, among other weapons.
NinJump Dash is available for iOS and Android devices.
Channel your inner artist with Draw Something, a social drawing game that allows users to draw pictures and have their friends guess what they are.
With more than 3,000 words to draw from in the free version of the game, you'll have plenty of opportunities to create some masterpieces (which will almost certainly elicit a few laughs, too.)
Draw Something is available for iOS and Android devices.
The old-school game has gotten a mobile makeover.
Go head to head with other opponents in Tetris Blitz as you race a clock to clear lines in the classic game.
Best of all: You'll always be able to find worthy opponents to battle with the game's skill-matching system.
Tetris Blitz is available for iOS and Android devices.
Kim Kardashian Hollywood
It's been quite a year for Kim Kardashian West. Lest we all forget, the celeb also has her own game.
If taking a Kim Kardashian-inspired adventure sounds more appealing this staring into space at the airport or listening to your siblings squabble on a road trip, then Kim Kardashian Hollywood may be up your alley.
Create your own celebrity and join Kim in Hollywood as you reap all of the benefits of being a celebrity.
Kim Kardashian Hollywood is available for iOS and Android devices.
What do the pope and an anti-Semitic Elmo have in common? They’re both in the crazy addictive game “Proust.”
Here’s how it works: You’re presented with five items you must rank from best to worst. Lock in your answers and then see how alike or different you are from your friends.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Twitter will soon start taking a peek at the other apps on your smartphone as a way to create a more personalized experience unless users take steps to opt out of the feature.
The social networking company, which depends largely on targeted advertising, said the new tracking feature would allow them show more relevant promoted tweets, along with improved "who to follow" suggestions and other content that may be of interest.
"We will notify you about this feature being turned on for your account by showing a prompt letting you know that to help tailor your experience, Twitter uses the apps on your device. Until you see this prompt, this setting is turned off and we are not collecting a list of your apps," a post in the Twitter Help Center read.
Twitter said it will only be looking surface level at other apps on a person's phone and will not be collecting any data from within the applications. Users who have previously limited ad tracking should have this feature automatically turned off.
For iOS and Android users who don't want Twitter to have a peek at their smartphones, there's a quick way to turn off the feature.
Go to settings, choose the account you'd like to make changes to. Android users will then click "other" while iOS users will choose "privacy." From there, you'll be able to adjust the setting to tailor Twitter based on apps.
Michael Nagle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Though most retailers are offering holiday weekend discounts online, millions of people still enjoy shopping outings with friends or family on Black Friday, and increasingly, Thanksgiving day. If so, this list is for you.
Before you camp out to snag a door-buster deal, be sure to check your local listings for store hours and purchasing restrictions. The biggest deals may be restricted to one per person.
Here are some store hours for national retailers that are open on Thanksgiving and or Black Friday:
Best Buy will open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Nearly all of Best Buy's 1,000 stores in 47 states will remain open until 1 a.m. on Friday. Stores will reopen at 8 a.m. Friday and close at 10 p.m. that day.
BJ's clubs, closed on Thanksgiving, will open at 7 a.m. on Friday and close at 10 p.m.
Formerly Burlington Coat Factory, Burlington will be closed on Thanksgiving and open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday.
Costco warehouses will be closed on Thanksgiving, but they have the autonomy to open earlier (not later) than usual on Black Friday. Most locations will be open 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. this Friday.
Dillard's will be closed on Thanksgiving and open on Friday at 8 a.m.
GameStop will be closed on Thanksgiving but open at 12:01 a.m. on Black Friday.
Many JCPenney stores will be open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day until 10 p.m. on Friday.
Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores
Jo-Ann stores will open at 6 a.m. on Black Friday, after being closed on Thanksgiving. For the first time, stores will open at 6 a.m. Wednesday, too.
Kmart has opened at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day for the past four years. Stores will then be open for 42 hours.
Kohl's will open at 6 p.m. on Thursday.
Macy's will open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
Pier 1 Imports
Pier 1 is closed on Thanksgiving and its doors are open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, though some locations will vary.
RadioShack will open at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving.
Sears will open at 6 p.m. on Thursday.
Staples will open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Target