Some mar­ket watch­ers un­fazed by weak hol­i­day re­tail num­bers

Austin American-Statesman - - BUSINESS - By Daniel Wag­ner Re­tail

WASHINGTON — As signs emerge that hol­i­day re­tail sales this year grew at the weak­est pace since 2008, in­vestors are dump­ing re­tail stocks. An­a­lysts are bark­ing about the miss­ing “con­sumer en­gine” with­out which the econ­omy may stag­nate.

Many fear that the sea­son’s weak­ness will re­ver­ber­ate through­out the econ­omy: Stores will be sad­dled with ex­cess mer­chan­dise, forc­ing them to slash prices and ac­cept ra­zor-thin profit mar­gins. De­mand will soften for goods up and down the sup­ply chain, lead­ing even­tu­ally to a de­cline in or­ders for fac­tory goods and weaker man­u­fac­tur­ing. Growth will slow.

Yet there are plenty of rea­sons to be­lieve that th­ese fears are overblown, some mar­ket­watch­ers ar­gue. Auto sales are strong, as are some mea­sures of con­sumer sen­ti­ment. Home

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