In the absence of any big news this week, it doesn't take much to get traders and investors thinking about next year's economy. The decent-but-not-great holiday sales season will certainly do the trick. Though the overall market was up today, many retail stocks fell, including L.A.-based Guess (down 1.87 percent, to $59.86) and City of Industry-based Hot Topic (down 1.89 percent, to $13.00). Among the major players, Target, Amazon, Best Buy and Federated Department Stores, parent of Macy's, were down, while Wal-Mart and Bed Bath & Beyond were up. BW had this over-reaching conclusion in an online analysis:
Like a football team that's played a quarter or two too many, consumers are finally showing signs of folding under pressure, based on initial results of the Christmas shopping season. And with gas prices creeping back up and home prices in a slump, retailers have every reason to worry about 2007.
Retailers that market mostly to lower-income shoppers seemed to do the worst, while the luxury segment did the best. The middle was mixed.