Money Minute: Walmart Begins Holiday Sales; October Not So Scary for Stocks

Surprise! The holiday shopping season is already underway. That and more top money stories you need to know Friday.

Walmart.com website
Walmart.com/AOL
No need to wait for Black Friday to start your holiday shopping. Walmart (WMT) kicks off its online deals Friday, nearly a month earlier than usual. It's partly because retailers are worried that sales could be pretty tame this year, and partly because Thanksgiving comes very late this year, leaving fewer shopping days between Black Friday and Christmas.

Good news for millions of workers who use flexible spending accounts to help pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses. The IRS is getting rid of its "use-it-or-lose-it" policy. Starting next year, you'll be able to carry over up to $500 of unused money into the following year. Employees are allowed to contribute up to $2,500 into these tax-deferred accounts each year. But up until now, you'd forfeit any money not used that year.

Halloween was only a little bit spooky for investors. The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 73 points Thursday, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) lost 6 and the Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) dropped 11 points. But for all of the often-haunted month of October, the Dow jumped nearly 3 percent in October, and the S&P rallied 4.5 percent.

Shares of General Motors (GM) and Ford (F) could be on the move today, as automakers report sales for October. Edmunds.com expects both GM and Ford to post double-digit gains. That means the government shutdown did little to slow down demand.

Shares of First Solar are set to shine after the company's earnings more than doubled, charging past expectations. The company's stock has also doubled from a year ago.

Finally, everyone is all a-twitter over Twitter's IPO next week, but there's another initial public offering Friday that could grab a lot of attention. The Container Store priced its IPO at $18 a share. That's at the high-end of expectations. The retailer of storage and organization systems plans to expand from just 62 stores now to about 300 over the next few years. The company has made Fortune's list of "Best Companies to Work For" for 14 straight years.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

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william.bednarz

Walmart Is One Of The Biggest Beneficiaries Of Food Stamps

November 01 2013 at 3:25 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to william.bednarz's comment
willypfistergash

Well, next to democrats

November 01 2013 at 3:44 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
mike krachala

so whats your problem. they sell cheeper food to people and most people that shop there have low incomes. walmart doesn't force people to shop there. its the government that give the food stamps out so why blame walmart. i thought busnesses went in busness to make money.

November 01 2013 at 10:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
newt.lartde

This year I am going the culinary route..I am getting all my friends and fam gift packs from whipped & Beaten culinary works.. they have hilarious cookbooks and spice blends.. but it's definitely a little unpc.. so i'd skip it if you can't take a good joke.. seriously.. google them.. hilarious!

November 01 2013 at 11:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to newt.lartde's comment
savannahswithgod

I'm making everyone a paper plane air-force out of the junk mail I get.

November 01 2013 at 3:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
taostop

I have a suggestion! If you don\'t like Walmart or shopping early just say NO. Walmart doesn\'t need you and honestly I\'m tired of your whiners complaining about Black Friday and Walmart. If you don\'t like it simply say NO. I don\'t shop Black Friday because I\'m not standing in line. So stop boring us with your stupid comments already!

November 01 2013 at 11:31 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Bobby

Wal-Mart will do anything to get customers..except treat them well...I will never set foot in another Wal-Mart store..

November 01 2013 at 10:18 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
6 replies to Bobby's comment
Kay

I just wish all stores would wait until the middle of November to start with the Christmas stuff! Over a month ago I went in to a store and they had their Christmas trees up and decorated and all the trim, ornaments and other decorations out! I was looking for some Halloween and Thanksgiving things and there was none! Crazy! And this was not a Walmart store!

November 01 2013 at 9:59 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
pdbliz

Boycott the sorry,,,lazy people who do not want to work.!!!!!

Lay on there butts and draw my tax money.!!!!!
I got a idea,,,,,if you are on Walfare and are a young person...
put your butt in the Army....!!!! Earn your money...
BUT,,I FORGOT,,,THE DEMOCRATES WOULD CALL THAT HARSH PUNISHMENT.!!!!!

November 01 2013 at 9:11 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
blackcoffeeparty

boycott Wal-Mart!

November 01 2013 at 8:44 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to blackcoffeeparty's comment
pdbliz

PARTY OF welfare.!!!!

November 01 2013 at 9:12 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply