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Wall Street turns to consumer to gauge economy

AZCentral.com – Wall Street heads into another turbulent week with investors set to pore over a government report on retail sales and earnings from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to get a better reading on the consumer.

There are growing signs that the deepening economic slowdown has caused Americans to tighten their purse strings. There was fresh evidence of this past week when retailers posted the worst October same-store sales in 35 years – and analysts believe the upcoming holiday shopping season could be among the slowest in decades.

With consumer spending driving more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy, investors will be paying close attention to earnings outlooks for some of the nation’s biggest retailers. Wal-Mart, the nation’s biggest retail chain, will post results on Thursday. Kohl’s Corp., JCPenney Co., Macy’s Inc., and Abercrombie & Fitch Co. are scheduled to release reports as well.

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