This is a favourite old economics poser; how much is a Christmas tree worth on Christmas Eve? The answer depends on whether you're a tree retailer desperate to get rid of the last of your stock which will become worthless the day after, or the last-minute buyer of a must-have seasonal accessory.
Disappointing November retail sales - at a time when retailers were expecting punters to bring expenditure forward in advance of the return of the old VAT rate - will lead, I think, to disappointing Christmas sales, despite the attempts of the retailers to talk the market up over the past week or so.
And the Harpex is still bumping along a new low. With gilt prices set to become the issue as soon as the current round of QE ends, and soaring financing costs to maintain the price, and no sign of a retail stimulus, things look gloomy indeed. Consumer confidence will only start to return once Brown and his corrupt cabal are out of office; every day he clings to power costs our economy, and ourselves, dear.