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Retail Christmas Miracle?

Maybe there really is a Santa Claus? According to the latest data, retailers performed better this holiday season, despite all the headwinds.

According to SpendingPulse, overall retail sales rose 3.6% from Nov. 1 to Christmas Eve fueled by a whopping 15.5% surge in online purchases as well as a modest recovery in luxury spending.

The Results

Among the hottest sectors this shopping season:

- Consumer electronics, up 5.9 percent, helped by flat-panel TVs, smartphones, cameras and video games.
- Footwear, up 5 percent.
- Jewelry, up 5.6 percent. Last year, jewelry sales fell 30 percent.

"Luxury and jewelry are very sensitive to what's happening in the financial markets," says Kamalesh Rao, director of economic research at Spending Pulse.

Online sales were a particular hot spot, fueled by a big increase the weekend before Christmas. They rose 15.5 percent on the season, though they make up less than 10 percent of all retail sales.

The Trade

I think the trade is longAmazon, says FBR analyst Heath Terry. "Everything broke their way this holiday season. We knew there would be a shift in dollars going online, but this year mother nature was on their side, too. Rain in the northeast two weeks before Christmas and snow covering the eastern seaboard the weekend before Christmas hit at the perfect time for them."

(Terry is not alone in his thesis. 3 Fast Money traders, Steve Cortes, Joe Terranova and Steve Grasso, all agree.)


To me the long trade is Apple, counters Pete Najarian.


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Trader disclosure: On Dec. 28th, 2009, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders

For Steve Grasso:
Grasso owns (AAPL)
Grasso Owns (BAC)
Grasso Owns (C)
Grasso Owns (CSCO)
Grasso Owns (PFE)
Grasso Owns (WMT)
Grasso Owns (V)
Stuart Frankel is Short (QQQQ)

For Steve Cortes:
Cortes Owns (GD)
Cortes Is Short (TOL)
Cortes Is Short (PHM)
Cortes Owns (SPX)
Cortes Owns US Dollar
Cortes Is Short Gold

For Pete Najarian:
Najarian Owns (LLTC) calls
Najarian Owns (MS) & Short (MS) Calls
Najarian Owns (PFE)
Najarian Owns (STEC) Call Spread

For Joe Terranova:
Terranova Works For (VRTS)
Terranova Is Chief Market Strategist Of Virtus Investment Partners, Ltd.

For Jeff Harte:
Sandler O'Neill Has Received Compensation from (C)
(C) Is A Client Of Sandler O'Neill

For Steve Levenson
Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Inc. makes a market in the securities of (ALOG)
Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Inc. expects to receive or intends to seek
compensation from (ALOG)
Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Inc. makes a market in the securities of (ASEI)
Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Inc. expects to receive or intends to seek
compensation from (ASEI)

For Tom Lydon
Lydon's Clients Own Shares of (TIP)
Lydon's Clients Owns Shares of (VWO)
Lydon's Clients Own Shares of (EEM)
Lydon's Clients Owns Shares of (GLD)

For Heath Terry
FBRCM acts as a market maker in (ATVI)
FBRCM acts as a market maker in (ERTS)
FBRCM acts as a market maker in (THQI)
FBRCM acts as a market maker in (TTWO)



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