Upbeat Holiday Shopping Forecast

Oct 3, 2013 7:53am

Morning Money Memo…

Consumers may spend more after all. After a gloomy outlook during the summer, the retail industry is sounding fairly confident about the holiday shopping season. The National Retail Federation forecasts sales in November and December to rise 3.9 percent compared with last year. The prediction is higher than the 10-year average holiday sales growth of 3.3 percent. “Our forecast is a realistic look at where we are right now in this economy – balancing continued uncertainty in Washington and an economy that has been teetering on incremental growth for years,” says NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Overall, retailers are optimistic for the 2013 holiday season.”

The federation warns spending could be less than expected if the government shutdown drags on. “Retailers are offering major incentives to get consumers in earlier,” says Jim Silver who follows toy trends at TimetoPlayMag.com. “You’ll see better deals earlier.” By far the biggest share of sales gains will come from internet retailers. A forecast from shop.org says they expect an increase compared to last year of up to 15 percent.

About one in four U.S. employers plan to add jobs between now and the end of the year, according to a new report by an employment firm. “Hiring remains stable. We’ve seen this throughout the entire year and we expect that trend to continue into 2014,” says CareerBuilder Vice President Michael Erwin about the findings of the quarterly survey. “Employers tell us they are adding headcount, maybe not at the numbers or the rate that we would like to or that happened in past recessions.” Health care and IT businesses are not expect to add as many new employees as last year, but Erwin says “manufacturing and financial services are definitely coming back.”

Stocks have been down 8 out of the past 10 trading sessions but the daily declines have been fairly modest. The Dow Jones Index is still up more than 15 percent for this year. Futures fell slightly this morning. There was a modest drop for the averages yesterday. The S&P 500 lost a point. The Dow fell 58 points.

Shares of the electric car company Tesla had been soaring – until Wednesday.  Now there are questions after a car fire near Seattle that was difficult to put out. An internet video showed flames coming out of the car. The company says the fire began in the battery. Shares in Tesla down 6 percent yesterday.

A boost for BP from a Federal appeals court in New Orleans. In a complex ruling a lower court’s decision on a settlement over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill was thrown out. The new decision revives BP’s claims that a judge’s interpretation could have forced the company to pay billions of dollars for what it says are inflated or bogus claims by businesses.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesnow

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