It was a muted day in the markets, as all three major indices barely budged despite retail concerns and mixed economic data.
Although a common holiday complaint is not receiving an anticipated present, if Sears Holdings (NAS: SHLD) was all we had to go by, it would appear that barely anyone one got gifts at all. The company announced that it will close 100 to 120 Kmart and Sears stores thanks to lackluster sales through the Christmas weekend. Sears shares subsequently sank 27%, making the beleaguered retailer today's headline loser.
There are concerns that Sears is foreshadowing a poor season for retailers. Shares of Whirlpool (NYS: WHR) were down 9%. But these could just be the one-off tribulations of a struggling franchise, considering that consumer confidence soared more than 9 points from November to 64.5, continuing to surge off October's terrible showing. On the other hand, housing prices continued to decline for the second straight month, sending bank stocks down.
In response to all of this news, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) dipped ever so slightly by 0.02%, while the Nasdaq gained 0.25% and the S&P 500 closed up 0.01%.
Inside the Dow, the biggest decliners were the two Wall Street banks, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase (NYS: JPM) , shedding 2.1% and 1.6%, respectively. Following a Reuters report yesterday that it may need to sell additional assets to meet new capital requirements, Bank of America's slide today seemed inevitable. General Electric (NYS: GE) , which has a large finance component, was down 1.2%, as the company announced that it's getting into the retail banking business by purchasing $7.5 billion in deposits via MetLife's (NYS: MET) online banking division.
All told, today's light volume and limited market movement are not out of the ordinary this time of year, and investors shouldn't be surprised if the rest of the week remains similarly quiet.
If daily market moves make you queasy, download The Motley Fool's special free report, "The Shocking Can't-Miss Truth About Your Retirement." You will want to take advantage of the critical information inside the free report so you aren't living and dying by your portfolio's reactions to day-to-day market volatility.
At the time thisarticle was published David Williamsonowns shares of General Electric, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out hisholdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.