Traders work the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.(Photo: David Karp, AP)
NEW YORK -- Stocks are falling Monday after a warning from White House economists dampened what had been a huge weekend for retailers.
Stocks were lower in late morning trading after a shortened, light-volume trading session Friday. The price of crude oil is 1.4% to $86.67 on concerns about the Middle East. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday abruptly announced he was quitting politics, injecting new turmoil into that nation's political scene weeks ahead of general elections.
Currency and commodity trading is subdued.
Shoppers flooded stores in record numbers over the holiday weekend, according to the National Retail Federation. The organization says 247 million shoppers visited stores and websites during the Thanksgiving holiday, up 9.2% from last year.
On Monday, however, a new report from the National Economic Council and the Council of Economic Advisers said that if the current budget impasse remains unresolved, a sudden increase in taxes for middle-income taxpayers could reduce consumer spending nearly $200 billion in 2013.
In overseas trading, European markets were falling on fears that a deal to allow Greece to get another round of bailout funding might elude the finance ministers of the 17-nation eurozone.