It’s Back-To-Work Monday. Yawn.

Hello all. It’s the Monday after Thanksgiving. But unlike most years, because Thanksgiving came so early this year, it’s not December yet. I feel like I’m in some kind of nebulous time frame as a result.

A look at the market news today gives us a couple of reasons why many stocks are trading down on the day, especially the airline sector.

First, the price of crude oil is back up above $60 a barrel, fueled by comments this weekend by Saudi Arabia’s oil minister supporting a further cutback in OPEC productions levels in December.

Walmart Holiday Frown.03

Second, it appears that Black Friday was not the blockbuster retail giant Wal-Mart had hoped it would be. Initial indications are that the company actually saw sales down from last year — and this was after the company started hyping its drop-dead Friday deals weeks in advance.

However, it appears (although numbers are not out yet) that other retailers fared a bit better. We just don’t know by how much. In the meantime, Wal-Mart’s less-than-stellar performance has traders wondering just how strong this Christmas season is going to turn out to be.

Anxiety and the unknown. Not a good combination for those on the Street to contend with.

Especially now — as the question of the underlying strength of the economy going into 2007 is somewhat suspect.

As a result, the one-two punch of higher oil prices and potentially softer-than-expected retail holiday sales are weighing heavily on Wall Street today. Last time I checked the Dow Jones Industrials Index was down 150 points while the Nasdaq was running about 50 points down on the day.

As for the airlines, the news was certainly less than festive as a quick check of the airline stocks we track at PlaneBusiness as of 12:28 P.M. CST showed every airline stock in the red.