US STOCKS-Wall Street to open modestly higher in shorter session

Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:00am EST
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* Retailers in focus with Black Friday underway

* Greece says IMF relaxes debt-cutting target

* RIM shares surge on new product optimism

* Futures up: Dow 38 pts, S&P 5 pts, Nasdaq 14 pts

By Leah Schnurr

NEW YORK, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to start an abbreviated session modestly higher on Friday on signs of progress in talks about releasing aid to Greece, and with the U.S. retail sector in focus as the holiday shopping season begins.

The U.S. equity market was closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday, and trading Friday will end early at 1:00 pm ET (1800 GMT). With many investors on holiday, volume was expected to be thin.

Greece said the International Monetary Fund had relaxed its debt-cutting target for the country, suggesting lenders were closer to a deal for a vital aid tranche to be paid. But other sources involved in the talks cautioned the funding gap was far bigger than Greece has suggested.

Euro zone finance ministers, the IMF and European Central Bank (ECB) failed earlier this week to agree on how to get the country's debt down to a sustainable level and will have a third attempt at resolving the issue on Monday.   Continued...