Holiday shopping kicked off this past weekend with Americans spending more than $54.7 billion during the Thanksgiving holiday period. Unfortunately, the retail industry watchdog ShopperTrak reports that $54.7 billion is 3 percent lower than last year’s haul for the same weekend. And it’s the first time in seven years that spending hasn’t grown. Retailers don’t expect it to get much better any time soon, according to GameStop Corp. CEO Paul Raines. “Consumers are stressed,” Raines said. They’re still under a lot of pressure from things like high unemployment… We see that in our business.” Certainly, that’s not what investors hope to see to close out the 2013 year.
It was a flat week for mainstream U.S. stock indexes with both the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 ending the week only slightly in the black. NASDAQ, however, rose 1.71%, and MCSI Emerging Markets Index recovered 0.71%. Big gainers in your Bull Market Alert portfolio included Bank of Ireland (IRE), soaring 8.39%, and last week's recommendation, the ProShares Ultra Russell 2000 (UWM), up 3.16%. Google Inc. (GOOG) also ended the week 2.68
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