After all the talk of booming holiday retail sales, the actual numbers were up by just a tenth of a point, much lower than expected. Maybe everyone really did give cars for Christmas as the holiday ads suggest, because autos and gas were the main drivers of December retail sales. We spoke to Brian Gendreau, a market strategist at Cetera Financial Group, and he told us it seems odd, "that people would buy less in the way of electronics during the Christmas season than they would in November, Black Friday sales or no Black Friday sales." Gendreau says many forecasters, even the really bullish ones, are expecting "fairly slow growth." And the Daily Pulse is down today on concerns about spiraling student loan debts. Today Mark Greene, the CEO of the credit score agency FICO, told Yahoo Finance that two-thirds of bank risk professionals recently surveyed think delinquencies on student loans will rise in 2012. That debt is nearing the trillion-dollar mark. Gulp.