Some market watchers unfazed by weak holiday retail numbers
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