New York Times: “This drop in the dollar has been justified for some time,” said Chris Turner, head of foreign exchange strategy at ING Baring in London. “The American economy could do more than simply land softly, and Europe is pretty strong right now.” But there was no single event yesterday to touch off such a sharp drop in the value of the dollar. Rather, economists said, it was a culmination of recent signs of weakness in the American economy that investors found troubling. Some experts said that could suggest that the dollar’s losses would deepen. Julian Jessop, chief international economist for Capital Economics in London, said in a research note yesterday that the sudden drop in the dollar was “an indication of a much more fundamental lack of support for the currency.” He said this suggests that “the falls will be all the larger once the markets do start to anticipate persistently sluggish growth.”
Wal-Mart sees weak sales as holiday season starts - Reuters
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. predicted a rare decline in monthly sales on Saturday, even as U.S. bargain-hunters jammed stores in search of gifts at the start of the crucial holiday shopping season. Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, sounded a cautious note for retailers as they began a second day of Thanksgiving weekend sales with deep discounts and early bird specials on items ranging from cashmere sweaters to big-screen plasma televisions. Wal-Mart estimated that November sales fell 0.1 percent at its U.S. stores open at least a year -- a closely watched retail measure known as same-store sales.(...) "We would frankly have expected better," Merrill Lynch retail analyst Virginia Genereux wrote in a note to clients dated Friday, pointing out that Wal-Mart had slashed prices on popular toys, electronics and other gift items to lure customers. The retailer's widely publicized $4 generic drug program should have drawn more shoppers, too. Investors are watching holiday sales particularly closely this year to gauge how consumers are coping with a slowdown in the housing market that has already hurt home improvement retailers and furniture stores. Consumer spending accounts for some two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, and the November-December holiday season makes up anywhere from 20 percent to 40 percent of retailers' annual sales.