In what may be a very ugly January, Wall Street has caught a serious case of the commodity flu. Beginning last Friday, the Dow closed down -170.50, -96.53 and -27.16. Tuesday was quite eventful as the Dow dropped 320 points before finally closing in the red. Today, the Dow lost -348 points before dow falls fourth straight daystopping the freefall yet still losing to the tune of triple digits.

Those with pockets full of equities are obviously starting to empty those pockets and put a halt to the losses. It really seems as if no one really knows how current oil prices will affect the economy. Oil began its fall late last year but not to the point where consumer gas prices really began to be noticed.

Of course, less out of pocket expenses mean more cash in consumer’s wallets, hopefully spurring stronger retail sales. But the most recent report on consumer spending was released today and if in fact consumers do have some extra coin in their accounts they’re holding onto it. Retail sales for December were much worse than expected falling -0.4%. This after a 0.6% November gain for a full 1.00% swing. If consumer spending leads an economy out of its doldrums, we may see more of the same for the next several weeks. That means equity losses aren’t over and the Dow and S&P 500 both could be in a correction mode.

Oil did recover somewhat with a 5.6% increase to $48.48 per barrel, yet still below the $50 mark. Other commodities are beginning to fare just as poorly. There are some signs Europe will wake up as the ECB was given the green light yesterday to start (another) round of quantitative easing. While that might soothe some investors, one has to wonder why a European QE will work this time around when previous attempts did little, if anything than to temporarily inflate the currency. Didn’t it just seem it were only a few days ago that both the Dow and S&P 500 hit record highs almost daily? No?