Retail sales have fallen straight down, signaling that the economic hardships, markets and related exchange traded funds (ETFs) are still going to plague the United States.

The Commerce Department reported that sales had plunged for the sixth consecutive month by 2.7%, around twice as much as the 1.2% analysts had expected. The inability for the consumer to spend is the undermining factor as to why the recession, credit crisis, and job losses are not expected to turn around anytime soon, reports Martin Crutsinger for Associated Press.

Sales at department stores, restaurants and gas stations have plummeted, and this has caused investors to pullback on Wall Street. This, in turn, is causing shares to drop, and major indexes such as the S&P have lost around 3.3% midday, reports Jack Healy for The New York Times.

  • SPDR S&P Retail (XRT): down 18.5% over past three months

Retail ETF

Oil prices have had a major slip, as the price is hovering around $36 per barrel today. The demand for oil has fallen flat and the weekly supply report is not going to help matters. Catherine Clifford for CNN Money reports that the government’s weekly supply report showed that demand for gasoline continued to be well below the same time last year.

  • United States Oil (USO): down 53% over past three months


Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank (DB) is expecting to report losses of $6.4 billion for the fourth quarter, signaling trouble for Germany’s largest bank. The full year 2008 losses would total $5.2 billion, reflecting their exposure to the world recession and the risks that entail.This news comes right after the government reported that they were taking a 25% stake in the bank, reports The Associated Press.

Check the calendar for more of today’s earnings announcements that are out today.

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.