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Stocks on track for big weekly loss as oil weighs; Holiday shopping off to solid start; DuPont, Dow Chemical agree to merge

Stocks   (^GSPC) (^DJI) (^IXICare deep in the red in early trading as oil prices (CLF16.NYM) continue their downward spiral this morning after the International Energy agency warned that the glut in crude could worsen next year.

Retail Sales Solid

The holiday shopping season got off to a solid start last month as consumers put the extra cash they saved from lower gasoline prices to work last month.

The Commerce Department reported retail sales rose by the  most in four months in November, but the 0.2% was still a bit less than forecasts.  Meanwhile,  the so-called core rate, which strips out the volatile auto and gas sector jumped 0.4%

Chemical Combo

Dow Chemical (DOW) and DuPont (DD) have agreed to combine their operations in an all stock-deal that would create a chemical giant worth a whopping $130 billion. The deal will be followed by a three-way split of the combined company, one focused on materials, one on agriculture, and the last on specialty products.

United Technologies (UTX), after the industrial conglomerate unveiled a three-year, $1.5 billion cost cutting plan, looks for ways to counter slow global growth and the drop in its stock price this year.

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Ford (F) plans to invest $4.5 billion over the next four years and is ramping up production of electric vehicles. This major push means more than 40% of Ford models will come in electrified versions by the end of the decade. Ford is also developing new ride-hailing services and will roll out a better version of its Focus next year.

Adobe Systems (ADBE) reported earnings per share that topped analysts' estimates for its fiscal fourth quarter. Profit more than doubled from a year earlier and sales jumped 22% thanks to strong subscription growth of its cloud-based services.

UPS Holiday Woes

A surge in online shopping is spelling trouble for UPS (UPS). The company is taking longer to deliver packages as it scrambles to keep up with extra pickups. Earlier this week, UPS assigned managers from corporate headquarters to work at delivery centers to help handle additional packages.