Stocks: Cheery mood on Thanksgiving eve

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Investors are heading into the Thanksgiving holiday in a cheery mood as markets look to extend this year's record-breaking run.

U.S. stock futures were continuing to edge higher Wednesday morning.

The main indexes in the U.S. have risen by 23% to 33% so far this year thanks to an economic recovery spurred on by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) shares surged in premarket trading, a day after the firm reported quarterly earnings and sales that beat expectations.

Airline investors were staying alert Wednesday morning as they wait on a judge to rule on various issues surrounding the merger between US Airways (LCC) and American Airlines (AAMRQ). The ruling is expected around 10 a.m. ET.

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On the economic front, the U.S. government will release its weekly report on initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET. The report comes a day earlier than usual because of Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday.

Also at 8:30 a.m. ET, the Census Bureau will release data on durable goods orders. At 9:55 a.m. ET, the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters will release their consumer sentiment index.

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U.S. stocks finished slightly higher Tuesday, continuing to set new records. The Nasdaq, which is dominated by tech stocks, closed above 4,000 for the first time in 13 years.

European markets were pushing higher in morning trading, in part due to agreement on a new coalition government in Germany led by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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Asian markets ended with mixed results. Chinese indexes posted modest gains while Japan's benchmark Nikkei lost 0.4%.

Tensions in the region are rising after China announced the creation of a controversial new air defense zone. Both the United States and its close ally, Japan, refuse to recognize the zone.

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