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Bulls & Bears
This past week's "Bulls & Bears":
• Gary B. Smith, RealMoney.com columnist
• Pat Dorsey, Morningstar.com director of stock research
• Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Research editor
• Scott Bleier, HybridInvestors.com president
• Dani Hughes, Divine Capital Markets president
Trading Pit: War on Chri$tmas$?
The War on Christmas: Could the left win its crusade against Christmas and does that threaten our stock market and entire economy?
Tobin Smith: The War on Christmas is real and taken to the extreme turning Christmas into a second-class holiday would kill much of the retail specialty stores. The next target would be Easter. This definitely does hurt the economy. Retailers have fallen under the pixie dust spell of consultants and this idea of being politically correct becomes this insidious little disease.
Dani Hughes: Businesses are just trying to be inclusive. Christmas and the fourth quarter are a big piece of our economy. This is when everyone counts on making big money. Wall Street cares very much about this War on Christmas. It now gets the numbers faster than it used to and it matters very much what's happening. Black Friday sales were very strong this year.
Scott Bleier: If the War on Christmas is won, the GDP of this country and the world will tank, the Chinese economic engine would be finished, and two-thirds of retailers will be out of business and people may actually save money. BUT, Christmas is not going anywhere and no one can take it away. Retailers want you to spend a lot of money and the fourth quarter holiday season is of vital national interest.
Gary B. Smith: If we include Christmas as the holiday of spending, then it would hurt the economy. The retailers just want to drive in as many customers as possible. Christmas won't be taken down. If Wall Street is not watching this, it is watching when the retail sales numbers come out.
Pat Dorsey: Americans will stop spending when this country is hit by an asteroid. There are a lot of things that could derail Christmas like higher heating bills and higher mortgage payments, but that's not going to happen. Wall Street doesn't care what it's called, as long as the sales come in.
Stock X-Change No. 1
Which companies love Christmas and you should love them too?
Tobin Smith: I love the Clydesdales and Anheuser-Busch (BUD). I will admit I haven't liked it in the past, but lately it's been making lots of money and is now at a good value. (Anheuser-Busch closed on Friday at $43.50.)
Dani Hughes: I do like the company, but I don't like the stock. It has been hurt by increased sales of wine and spirits.
Gary B. Smith: I'm going express with FedEx (FDX). The chart shows that the stock was trending down, but now has broke out. Look for it to head north to $125! (FedEx closed on Friday at $97.82.)
Pat: I don't like it. It's too expensive.
Dani Hughes: Brown is the way to go. United Parcel Service (UPS) is expecting to handle 14 million packages a day this holiday season. I do own this stock. (United Parcel Service closed on Friday at $77.45.)