News Midday Update: Markets down early on consumer spending worries; Emory University hosting World AIDS Quilt; Georgia's newest city open for business

Investors uneasy about the holiday shopping season gave Monday back some of Wall Street's recent gains, sending the Dow Jones industrial average down more than 400 points.

While initial reports about the start of holiday shopping this weekend suggested sales were better than some retailers and analysts expected, Americans are clearly extremely cautious. That has Wall Street concerned about the impact of a continuing drop in consumer spending on the economy.

According to preliminary figures released by RCT ShopperTrak, a research firm that tracks total retail sales at more than 50,000 outlets, sales rose 3 percent to $10.6 billion on Black Friday - the day after Thanksgiving that is traditionally one of the biggest shopping days of the year. But some analysts are concerned that Black Friday's results aren't indicative of the rest of the weekend.

"After a slow start to November, we believe strength on Black Friday was not enough to save the month," said John Morris, an analyst at Wachovia Capital Markets. "The strength did not carry through the remainder of the weekend, as business fell off sharply on Saturday, according to our field team."

RCT ShopperTrak is expected to release data for the combined Friday and Saturday period on Monday.

Wall Street is concerned that consumers, by curtailing their spending further, won't be able to help lift the economy from its slump.

In midmorning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 403.65, or 4.57 percent, to 8,425.39. Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 48.30, or 5.39 percent, to 847.94, while the Nasdaq composite index fell 82.70, or 5.39 percent, to 1,452.87.Associated Press

Emory University hosting World AIDS Quilt

Emory University is hosting one of the largest collegiate displays of The AIDS Memorial Quilt in the country.

The quilt will be on campus Monday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to commemorate World AIDS Day. The display includes 800 panels memorializing people who died with AIDS.

The opening ceremony will feature a talk by fashion designer Kenneth Cole, who graduated from Emory. Cole is chairman of amfAR, the world's largest HIV/AIDS research organization.

The curator for the quilt is the NAMES Project Foundation, which was established in 1987 to heighten awareness about AIDS and HIV. The foundation is now based in Atlanta.

Associated Press

Georgia's newest city open for business

An area in the Atlanta suburbs has become Georgia's newest city.

Dunwoody officially began operation as a city at midnight Monday. The city council met just after midnight to mark the milestone with a ribbon cutting.

City hall is set to open for the first time at 8 a.m.

Four months ago, residents voted overwhelmingly to form a city in what was once just a part of DeKalb County. Dunwoody will continue to get its fire, 911, water and sewer service from the county, but the city is hoping to form its own police department.Associated Press


- Former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin will be in Perry today campaigning for U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss. Come back to our Web site for the latest coverage.


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