The markets seem to be slumbering their way to Christmas.
At mid-morning the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
was rising modestly, along with the
. A dip by market leader
dragged down the
. This, despite a vote of confidence for Intel from
Gruntal & Co.
, which increased earnings estimates for 1997.
The two things on investors minds as the holiday approaches? Same as everyone else: keeping warm and last-minute shopping.
With a cold winter brewing, the demand for heating oil boosted the energy sector last week. Today,
upgraded its ratings on oil and gas firms
Louis Dreyfus Natural Gas
(LD:NYSE) to a strong buy, and, in turn, shares in both were trading up.
As for retail, who knows. According to this morning's
Wall Street Journal
, holiday shopping this year would fall short of retailers' expectations.
The New York Times
reported retailers to be "full of optimism."
The bottom line? Holiday shopping is a tough phenomenon to gauge, especially while it is happening.
"You can't really know until after the holiday," says Eric Miller, chief investment officer at
Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette
Figures released this morning marked another sign of a rosy retail sector--in November personal spending rose .5%, beating expectations, even as personal income growth of .5% disappointed analysts.
By Kevin Petrie