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Dow Falls on Slow Christmas Shopping

Jeremy Bowman
December 26, 2012

Stocks fluttered today in the first full day of trading this week as investors awaited further negotiations on the fiscal cliff.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) dropped 24 points, or 0.2%, amid the general anxiety, and retailers performed particularly poorly in response to reports of a disappointing Christmas shopping season. Trading was the lightest it's been in any full session this year, as many on Wall Street were still on vacation and European markets were closed for Boxing Day.

According to the MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, holiday season sales grew at the slowest pace since the recession-mired 2008 season. Overall retail sales in the two months leading up to Christmas grew just 0.7%, well below analyst expectations of 3% to 4%. Some observers blamed the worries about the fiscal cliff as well as Superstorm Sandy, which could have led some shoppers to cut back on gift buying.

President Obama is set to return to Washington tomorrow, cutting his Christmas vacation short to