Market Report: Early Black Friday Sales and Low Gas Prices

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COLUMBIA - The stock market is just a reflection of expectations, and this week some major companies released earnings reports beating expectations and leading to some record highs.

Boosted by strong reports from Microsoft and Boeing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 1.11 percent this week to close at 15,570.28, just about one percent away from its record high. The NASDAQ closed up 0.74 percent for the week. Strong earnings from Amazon pushed the index to a 13-year high, with it closing at 3,943.36. Finally, the S&P 500 went up for the third straight week to close at 1,759.77, a 0.88 percent gain.

Speaking of expectations, the economy added just 148,000 new jobs in September, which is far fewer than the expected amount of 180,000. The consumer confidence index, which is a reading of how confident people are feeling about the economy dropped to 73.2, which is a 10-month low, the lowest reading of the year, down from 77.5 in September.

When people have a poor outlook on the economy, which usually means less purchasing, and less purchasing means lower prices, which is partially why gas prices are down. Missouri's prices are the lowest in the nation according to, with a state average of $2.95/gallon.

The reason the state is so low is because while there's not really any oil in the state, Missouri is surrounded by refineries in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Illinois so transportation costs are low and there's no sales tax on gas in Missouri.

And while there's nothing low-cost about going to college, the good news is that it's not getting much more expensive. Tuitions rose 2.9 percent this year, and that's the smallest yearly rise in 30-years. This past year, the UM System increased its tuition only 1.7 percent.

For the first time ever, Kohl's will be opening up their stores on Thanksgiving at 8 PM, and they'll keep them open all the way through Black Friday. The retailer joins JC Penny and Macy's who announced identical plans last week. The reasons behind the openings are lackluster sales last year and the fact the first day of Hanukkah is the same day as Thanksgiving this year.

The US Federal Reserve has one of their eight yearly meetings this week. On Wednesday, the Fed has its announcement scheduled, and Apple and Facebook release earnings on Monday and Wednesday. Finally, there will be more info on how quickly the US's economic situation is improvement when initial jobless claims are released on Thursday.