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U.S. Holiday Sales Come In Alarmingly Weak (Associated Press)
U.S. holiday retail sales this year grew at the weakest pace since 2008. sales in the two months before Christmas increased 0.7 percent, compared with last year. Many analysts had expected holiday sales to grow 3 to 4 percent. Retailers cited bad weather and consumers' rising uncertainty about the economy for the lackluster performance.
The easiest — and therefore most likely — "resolution" of the fiscal cliff is for the president and Democrats to offer to keep everything as is, through 2013 – extend all the Bush tax cuts and continue all current spending.
Deutsche Bank's Joe LaVorgna says that over the past six months, business investment has trailed consumption. For instance: the 6-month annualized change in retail sales ex-autos (+4.1% as of November), to the 6-month annualized change in manufacturers' new orders for nondefense capital goods ex-aircraft (-5.6%).
That's not so unusual, he says. However, a steady decline in capex spending has usually been a harbinger of a downturn in consumer spending.
PIMCO'S Mohamed El-Erian's 'Chart of the Year' Is Actually A Pointed Cartoon (Business Insider)
We asked our favorite analysts for their charts of the year.
PIMCO boss Mohamed El-Erian sent us this cartoon he used at a lecture earlier this year:
With the following explanation: "...bold central bankers are leading everyone into still-muddy and uncharted territory. The outlook is uncertain. The traditional map is of little use. They are pulling along politicians who, rather than lead, are bickering and dithering.
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