|Dow||-11.27 to 17,803.12*|
|S&P 500||+3.62 to 2,070.65*|
|Nasdaq||+22.72 to 4,780.97*|
|10-YR Yield||-0.02 to 2.24%*|
|Gold||-$0.20 to $1,197.40*|
|Crude Oil||-$0.58 to $73.46*|
Mike Larson is off today. His column will return next week. Mark Najarian, the managing editor of Money and Markets, is filling in. (* Today’s Market Roundup consists of 3 p.m. data.)
As many in the U.S. prepare for the big holiday tomorrow, it brings to light a controversial matter that’s heating up more than ever this year for the retail sector: Whether to open on Thanksgiving Day.
Companies like Dollar General, Family Dollar, Michael’s, Old Navy, Toys “R” Us, JCPenney, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Macy’s … well, too many to name them all … are saying they will be open for business tomorrow, allowing them to get a head-start over some of their rivals before Black Friday, the traditional opening of the holiday buying season.
Some stores are facing resistance from workers and even customers — 5,000 people signed a petition calling for Kmart to ensure that its workers have enough time off on Thanksgiving Day.
|To shop or not on Thanksgiving Day.|
“We understand that it is retail, and employees understand that they have to work hours on holidays,” the petition organizer website, coworker.org, states. “However, Kmart’s unnecessary hours are forcing its employees to miss out on important time with their families. With lives that are continuously busier and busier, it is more important now than ever to put an end to this before we no longer have holidays.”
A recent survey by Loyalty One showed that 50 percent of Americans oppose all-day openings on Thanksgiving, while 33 percent said the extra time for gift buying was a good idea.
And there are some companies that are promoting the idea that they will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. According to the New York Times, Costco, Marshalls, GameStop and T. J. Maxx will remain shut to show that they are family friendly operations that honor the holiday. “For us, it’s a matter of principle,” said Tony Bartel, the president of GameStop, which has 4,600 stores nationwide. “We have a phrase around here that we use a lot — it’s called ‘protecting the family.’ We want our associates to enjoy their complete holidays.”
|“In some places, state law will actually forbid store openings on Thanksgiving.”|
In some places, state law will actually forbid store openings on Thanksgiving, regardless of what the national chains are planning. “The law hasn’t changed, but there’s a lot of confusion because you have national chains announcing Thanksgiving hours or earlier Black Friday hours. There’s a caveat that those don’t apply to Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine,” Bill Rennie, vice president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, was quoted as saying.
I’ve lived in many countries, all with varying traditions and laws surrounding store opening hours. When I lived in Germany in the 1990s, opening hours were quite strict — stores by law had to close at 6:30 p.m. on most weekdays and by 2:30 p.m. on most Saturdays (Sunday shopping was verboten). Meanwhile, I spent a few years in Russia, which like in the U.S., shopping was allowed 24/7 and hours were left up to the stores to decide. I also spent years in the U.K. and France, which basically took the middle ground with somewhat liberal shopping-hour regulations that required large stores some limited hours on Sundays.
I would imagine most U.S. readers on Money and Markets would want the government to stay out of the matter and allow shops to set their own hours, but maybe not … And we have a lot of international readers who might have other ideas.
What’s your view? And are you planning to shop on Thanksgiving Day? Or maybe avoid the crowds, stay at home with family, eating and watching football? Is it a practical or ethical decision for you? Jump to the comment section and add your viewpoint and discuss the matter over the holiday period.
Anyway, we will, in fact, be closed on Thanksgiving, and there will not be a morning or afternoon Money and Markets report tomorrow. Mike Larson will have his regular Friday morning column, but there won’t be an afternoon report Friday. Enjoy your holiday!
|Our Readers Respond|
Mike Larson is out today, but his afternoon column will resume next week and he will respond to your comments then.
|Other Developments of the Day|
Just like in the old days, attention will turn to the OPEC gathering in Vienna this week. While Americans are celebrating Thanksgiving, the cartel will be discussing the possibilities of curtailing production to support oil prices. Most observers are split on the outcome of the meeting. Many say that oil producers will continue to pump out the product in order to maintain market share and, in fact, to help drive down the price to make alternatives — such as fracking — less lucrative, thereby stalling its development. Other experts say that the price has fallen below many nations’ break-even point and will therefore push for cutbacks to keep the price from dipping any further.
While much of the talk afterwards may be just more noise, you’ll be able to clearly see the real outcome of the talks: With no output cuts, crude and Brent prices will continue to fall. The effect on the U.S. economy will be varied — it will mean lower gasoline prices — a sort of surprise tax cut — for U.S. consumers. But, at the same time, it could stall alternative production and will likely hit the shares of oil companies.
What’s your call on the oil situation? Are you enjoying the lower prices at the pump? Or are you worried about the effect on the development of new energy sources and the potential hit to your oil shares? Or both? Click here to add in your views and join the discussion over the holiday weekend on this or any other topic.