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Snow, snow, snow.

The power's out in 200,000 New England homes this Monday morning and the locals are still shoveling out from behind broken tree limbs and fallen power lines. Do you think they did a whole lot of shopping up there as they dodged silver-dollar-sized snowflakes?

In a truncated yuletide season, such an unexpected pummeling from King Boreas and his winter pals would likely gain notice among Wall Street's investing denizens. Thus far, though, the Northeast-heavy retailers continue to trade along as though no big thing occurred.

Filene's Basement

(BSMT:Nasdaq) is little changed, along with


(MAY:NYSE) and


(AMES:Nasdaq). But don't worry. As soon as retailing sales show a little weakness, that New England winter storm will become everyone's favorite excuse. Even in Atlanta.

Instead of snow-snuffed retail sales, the Wall Street herd is more interested in forgetting about Alan Greenspan's bid to play the Ghost of Christmas Present. His chain-rattling performance last Thursday did little to deter the good holiday spirits among investors, and the market is sharply higher this morning. Indeed, Greenspan's decision to chat rather than act led many investors to believe that the Fed doesn't have the heart to pull the interest-rate trigger with the economy slowing down.

At least, that's what everyone suspects. We'll all find out on December 17, when the Federal Open Market Committee next meets. If Greenspan or his minions prattle on once again about the market, though, it might be time to start bracing for some coal in our collective stocking.

By Dave Kansas