A retail red alert for Hockey's budget

Slumping retail stocks are heralding a warning for the broader economy as a bevy of conspiring economic forces begins to mount up – and there is no easy budget fix.

Step back and look at what is happening across our country. What you will see is not pretty.

The fall in the share prices of Woolworths and Wesfarmers (Coles and Bunnings) over the last few days is the first sign that the market realises that the dramatic events taking place in Canberra are going to hit already sluggish retail spending.

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