Tech Stocks Fall After Disappointing December

Tech stocks such as Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) are down this morning on news that it was a weak December for electronics sales.

The Commerce Department reported this morning that December sales at electronics and appliance stores fell 3.9% from November – a disappointing decline in the heart of holiday shopping season. Though sales figures for specific companies were not immediately available, some of the biggest tech stocks are feeling the brunt of the sales dip today.

IBM is down 1.5% in early trading. Amazon is down 0.9%. Apple has tumbled a more modest 0.51%. The S&P 500 as a whole was down 0.29% as of 10:30 this morning.

If the electronics sales decline tells us anything, it’s that the U.S. economy still has some post-recession healing to do. Sure, at 8.5% the unemployment rate is at its lowest level in nearly three years. But it’s still well above its historic average.

Plus, in other troubling economic news today, the Labor Department announced that initial jobless claims rose by 24,000 in the first week of January – triple the 8,000 claims most economists expecected the number to raise. It’s no wonder December sales were underwhelming.

While electronics stores were the worst retail performers last month, sales as a whole were unimpressive.Excluding auto sales, retail sales fell 0.2% from the previous month – worse than the 0.3% improvement economists had predicted. Spending at grocery stores, gas stations and department stores also fell month-over-month. Stocks such as Sears (Nasdaq: SHLD), JC Penney (NYSE: JCP) and Macy’s (NYSE: M) were all down in morning trading.

Only auto sales had a good month, improving 1.5% from November and 8.8% year-over-year.

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