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Wall Street worries about consumer as Congress squabbles

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
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As Congress squabbles over federal spending, Wall Street is increasingly fretting that the anticipated economic rebound is not materializing.

Wednesday's selloff following a report on Wal-Mart slashing orders was a good example of how worried traders are that the economic data is not pointing to a faster growth pace. Traders were already on edge after the Fed last week kept its easing policy in place, signaling that it, too, has concerns about the economy.

Wal-Mart stock, other retailers and the overall market fell after Bloomberg reported that Wal-Mart is cutting orders — but not across the board. Bond yields fell to their lows of the day. Wal-Mart told CNBC, however, that the story was misleading and that it was not cutting orders because inventories were piling up. Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar said the company has hundreds of inventory categories and it is constantly managing inventory levels based on consumer demand in different markets.