Stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs) are trading higher today after the holiday. Trading is light and expected to remain so until after the new year, when everyone returns from holiday vacations.

The Federal Reserve voted late Wednesday to allow the federal arm of General Motors, GMAC, to become a bank-holding company. Annelena Lobb of The Wall Street Journal reports this will allow them to qualify for funds from the Treasury’s $700 billion rescue plan.

Retailers are calling 2008 the worst holiday sales season on record. Total retail sales, excluding automobiles, fell from the year-earlier period by 5.5% in November and 8% in December through the 24th. The month is not over yet, and stores are offering more discounts to bring in consumers looking for bargains. Amazon on the other hand said this was their best ever.

Oil prices were up today after the United Arab Emirates said it will slash crude exports by up to 15% in February.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.