Dec 27, 2017

Shoppers spent over $800 billion this holiday season

Shoppers walk through at The Grove in Los Angeles before Christmas. Photo: Dania Maxwell / Bloomberg

MasterCard announced that U.S. shoppers spent over $800 billion during the 2017 holiday season — the most ever — per Reuters. That's up 4.9% from last year, marking the biggest year-over-year increase in holiday shopping since 2011.

Why it matters: It's finally some good news for sagging department stores with stocks across the industry rising as a result. Mastercard's report pegged online sales as only 11-12% of total retail sales, meaning that the vast majority of Americans did their holiday shopping in traditional brick-and-mortar locations.

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Syria's darkest chapter

Family room without a family, in Idlib. Photo: Muhammed Said/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The worst humanitarian crisis of Syria’s brutal civil war is colliding today with what could be the war’s most dangerous geopolitical showdown, after at least 29 Turkish troops were killed in an airstrike.

The big picture: The fighting is taking place in Idlib in northwest Syria, where a ferocious Syrian and Russian offensive has displaced 1 million civilians and infuriated Turkey, which borders the region.

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Fear of coronavirus pandemic escalates

Photo: Abdulgani Basheer/AFP/Getty Images

In the blink of an eye, we've entered a new phase on the coronavirus.

The big picture: Italy, Iran and South Korea are at "decisive" points in their responses, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

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