National Returns Day, U.S. stock market reopens: 5 things to know Thursday

National Returns Day: Is your package one of the 1.9 million returns?

On the heels of a record-breaking holiday shopping season, United Parcel Service is anticipating a record number of shipped returns. UPS said it expects to process 1.9 million return packages on Thursday, what the shipper calls “National Returns Day,” when it expects peak gift returns. That’s up 26% from a year ago. The National Retail Federation said more than half (55%) of shoppers plan to return or exchange any unwanted gifts within a month of receiving them.

U.S. stock markets reopen 

For the first time in 2020, the U.S. stock market opens Thursday and trading resumes  Thursday, giving investors a glimpse at how markets will kick off the new year. Last year was a banner one for stocks: After teetering on the brink of a major downturn in the final months of 2018, the stock market bounced back and thrived in 2019, extending its reign as the longest bull market in history. And the stock market rally is poised to keep humming along, experts say. “Investors have to stay out of risky companies to make money in 2020,” says Dave Harden, chief executive officer at Summit Global Investments. “A tide lifts all boats, but the reality is you don’t want a boat with a hole in it.” 

Funeral set for mother, son killed in Louisiana plane crash

A Louisiana mother and her son who died in a plane crash en route to a College Football Playoff game in Atlanta will be laid to rest Thursday. Gretchen Vincent; 51, and Michael Walker Vincent, 15, were on the plane that crashed shortly after takeoff from Lafayette Regional Airport on Saturday, killing five of the six people on board. According to National Transportation Safety Board Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg, no distress call was made by the small private plane before the fatal crash. The plane took off and reached 900 feet before it started a “left descending turn,” Landsberg said Sunday. The Vincents will be remembered at a visitation and funeral service at Our Savior’s Church in Lafayette, Louisiana, according to the Associated Press. 

One-hour TV special airs on ‘Jeopardy’ host Alex Trebek

Alex Trebek and his wife Jean Trebek are opening up about the “Jeopardy!” host’s cancer diagnosis in an upcoming one-hour TV special, “What Is Jeopardy? Alex Trebek and America’s Most Popular Quiz Show,” scheduled to air Thursday. Since the beloved host shared his diagnosis with the world in March, Trebek has been receiving endless messages of love and support. Trebek has said he didn’t think of himself as courageous for dealing with his cancer diagnosis, saying it’s just part of life. The special airs at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

T.S. Eliot’s letters are finally unveiled after 60 years

Starting Thursday, researchers and scholars will be able to read letters written by poet T.S. Eliot to confidante Emily Hale which scholars hope will reveal the extent of a relationship that’s been speculated about for decades. Eliot, born in St. Louis in 1888, gained notoriety as a poet early in life. “I think it’s perhaps the literary event of the decade,” says Anthony Cuda, an Eliot scholar and director of the T.S. Eliot International Summer School, about the letters. Eliot’s best-known works include “The Waste Land,” “The Hollow Men” and “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats,” which was adapted into “Cats,” the award-winning musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber.  

Contributing: Associated Press

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