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Ticker Shock: GMAC Scores a Bailout; Amazon Puts Other Retailers To Shame


Friday's top stories and stocks with potential to move.


Boy, I'll bet dollars to doughnuts the stores are going to be busy today. Returns and bargain hunters galore. I was thinking about getting out there myself just to see what kinds of deals I might find, but wrestling my mother and her friends over a cheap box of holiday lights doesn't sound all that appealing.

Anyway, getting down to business, the Hang Seng was closed for the holidays, but the Nikkei was up more than 1%. Europe also has the day off, and here in the US we're currently trading higher.

Here's what I'm watching:

Overall, Santa's sleigh was a little lighter this year. Our own Terry Woo reported that "total year-over-year sales, excluding automobiles, dropped 8% in December."


But given the same-store sales results we've seen from industry stalwarts like J.C. Penney (JCP), Macy's (M), Nordstrom (JWN) and Target (TGT), it's not all that surprising.

Incidentally, I want to point out that in spite of the recent carnage, I'm optimistic about the sector's longer-term prospects. I think we can still safely classify ourselves as a nation of to perk up. consumers. We love to shop, we like nice things and sooner or later the situation is bound

Simplistic? Maybe. But I think once folks get some Benjamins back in their pockets, they'll be doling them out with a smile. My point: We've learned very little from the recent crisis.

General Motors (GM)
According to Reuters, "GMAC LLC, the financing arm of General Motors, won Federal Reserve approval on Wednesday to become a bank holding company" and "shares of General Motors rose nearly 14% to $3.70."

So, am I feverishly calling in a buy order for shares of the beleaguered automaker on this news? Not quite. Sure, its positive for GMAC, but unless General Motors changes -- or proves it will change -- the way it does business, I'm just not hopping aboard. Sorry, Detroit bulls, but I'd rather deploy cash elsewhere.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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