Back to top

Analyst Blog

Holiday sales are off to a solid start. But with ‘Fiscal Cliff’ negotiations getting into high gear as Congress gets back to work this week, attention will likely shift to this looming deadline.

Stocks made good gains last week as the political leadership was away. But the gains may get hard to sustain as the nitty-gritty of the actual talks get underway.

Total spending over the Thanksgiving weekend increased 13% from the year-ago period, according to the National Retail Federation. This is lower than the 16% spending growth achieved over the weekend last year, but is nevertheless a solid start to the holiday shopping season.

Online sales are becoming a much bigger slice of the spending pie, with more than half of consumers reporting having shopped on the Internet over the weekend. This bodes well for merchants with stronger online presences for today’s so-called Cyber Monday traffic. Wal-Mart (WMT - Analyst Report), Target (TGT - Analyst Report), Best Buy (BBY - Analyst Report) and others appear to have made strong headways on that front and seem well-positioned to provide Amazon (AMZN - Analyst Report) with credible competitive challenges this year.

We don’t have much on the economic calendar today, though the rest of this week brings in the October Durable Goods, New Home Sales and Personal Income & Spending data. We also have the second read on the third quarter GDP report coming out on Thursday, which is expected to get revised upwards from the originally reported 2% growth pace. And next week’s all important November non-farm payroll report may not be as illustrative of actual ground realities due to Superstorm Sandy’s effects.

All of these reports are useful, but markets will be particularly focused on developments on the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ front. It will be nice if the final decision doesn’t get pushed to the last minute, but past history shows that to be the most likely outcome.

Please login to or register to post a comment.

New to Zacks?

Start Here

Zacks Investment Research


Are you a new Zacks Member or a visitor to

Top Zacks Features

My Portfolio Tracker

Is it Time to Sell?

One of the most important steps you can take today is to set up your portfolio tracker on Once you do, you'll be notified of major events affecting your stocks and/or funds with daily email alerts.

More Zacks Resources

Zacks Rank Home - Evaluate your stocks and use the Zacks Rank to eliminate the losers and keep the winners.

Mutual Fund Rank Home - Evaluate your funds with the Mutual Fund Rank for both your personal and retirement funds.

Stock/Mutual Fund Screening - Find better stocks and mutual funds. The ones most likely to beat the market and provide a positive return.

My Portfolio - Track your Portfolio and find out where your stocks/mutual funds stack up with the Zacks Rank.

Zacks #1 Rank Top Movers for Zacks #1 Rank Top Movers

Company Symbol Price %Chg
UTD THERAPE… UTHR 117.83 +28.51%
TRIQUINT SE… TQNT 20.67 +6.52%
RF MICRO DE… RFMD 12.47 +6.04%
VASCO DATA… VDSI 14.77 +4.68%
BANCO DO BR… BDORY 15.53 +3.95%