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Shares slide into red after long winning spell

Stocks on Wall Street fell slightly at the start of a week in which the Dow and S&P are both bidding for a ninth successive week of gains.

After a long stretch of gains, signs of caution starting to creep into the stock market are not entirely unexpected, even with today’s bullish set of manufacturing reports.

Heading into the crucial festive shopping season, the focus of investors may well be pin-pointed on how well sales have been going at retailers across the US.

The US National Retail Federation estimates that the number of shoppers on Thanksgiving Day grew 27% from last year, rising from 35 million last year to 45 million this year. This appears to have cannibalised some of the business from Black Friday, however, with a 2.7% fall in sales over the whole weekend, according to estimates from the federation, with the average spend per head down close to 6% and this has weighed on stock prices.

Today is ‘Cyber Monday’ though, and with big increases in sales announced by Amazon and eBay, there are reasons to feel upbeat about the performance of online retailers.

Heading into the last half an hour of trading in New York, the Dow was off 0.26% or 42 points at 16044, while the S&P 500 also dropped, losing 0.12% to stand at 1803.7.

US motor vehicle sales figures for November are released tomorrow.

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