Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



This Is the Reason the S&P 500 Was Grinched

Watch stocks you care about

The single, easiest way to keep track of all the stocks that matter...

Your own personalized stock watchlist!

It's a 100% FREE Motley Fool service...

Click Here Now

It doesn't appear that even a visit by old St. Nick is going to be enough to save the economy from going over the fiscal cliff in just five more days. According to MasterCard Advisors Spending Pulse, holiday sales from Oct. 28 through Dec. 24 rose a paltry 0.7%, compared to estimates that ranged from between 3% and 4%. This would mark the slowest period of retail sales growth since the U.S. was in a deep recession in 2008, and speaks to the tightening budgets many are dealing with, as we prepare for higher taxes and deep federal spending cuts.

On the day, the broad-based S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) fell 6.83 points (-0.48%), to finish at 1,419.83.

As you might expect from the above holiday sales figures, retailers were the biggest losers within the S&P 500 today. In fact, 10 of the 11 biggest losers within the S&P 500 were retailers in one form or another, including purse and accessories maker Coach (NYSE: COH  ) , down 5.9%, e-commerce giant (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) , off 3.9%, and high-end jewelry chain Tiffany (NYSE: TIF  ) , losing 2.8%.

The signs are there that retailers could be in for a very rough 2013 given existing weakness in Europe and a slowdown of growth in China, coupled with a soon-to-be spike in household taxes if no fiscal compromise is reached. This means that higher-end retailers, like Tiffany and Coach, as well as bargain shoppers looking for great deals on Amazon, could be dealing with less discretionary income.

There weren't many bright spots today, but Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) , which rose 2.6% and hit a 52-week intraday high, was a notable exception. As the best performer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 2012, a mixture of window dressing and value -- it still trades at just 57% of book value -- the company appears to be luring investors into the bank. With a freshly capitalized portfolio, thanks to asset divestments, Bank of America's run may not be over just yet.

Is this easy money?
To learn more about the most-talked-about bank out there, check out our 
in-depth company report on Bank of America. The report details Bank of America's prospects, including three reasons to buy, and three reasons to sell. Just click here to get access.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2169608, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/26/2016 3:54:09 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,212.07 42.80 0.24%
S&P 500 2,140.21 -2.95 -0.14%
NASD 5,252.30 -31.10 -0.59%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/26/2016 3:38 PM
AMZN $824.32 Down -10.86 -1.30% CAPS Rating: ****
BAC $16.85 Up +0.13 +0.78%
Bank of America CAPS Rating: ****
COH $35.71 Up +0.06 +0.18%
Coach CAPS Rating: ****
TIF $73.60 Up +0.21 +0.28%
Tiffany and Co. CAPS Rating: **