We think the holiday shopping season may bring some holiday cheer for the

markets this year. The U.S. consumer is in good shape, the season got off

to a strong start, and the stock market has performed well. Even after last

week’s 3.6% loss, led down by the energy sector as oil’s slide continued,

the S&P 500 has returned 10.5% year to date. We expect holiday shoppers,

bolstered by lower energy prices, to help support potential stock

market gains. The U.S. consumer is in good shape. As we noted in our Outlook 2015:

In Transit publication, the consumer is a key factor supporting our 3%-plus

U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) forecast for 2015.* Job growth has

picked up in recent months, with an average of nearly 300,000 jobs added

per month over the three months ending in November 2014.

Will Shoppers Bring Holiday Cheer for Markets?