TORONTO – Talks aimed at avoiding the so-called “fiscal cliff” will continue to cast a shadow over trading this week as markets begin to wind down for the Christmas-New Year’s holidays.

But traders will have some key economic data to serve as a possible distraction, including the latest reading on Canadian economic growth and retail sales. And in the U.S., investors will look to see if the strong runup in housing starts carried on into November and whether worries about going over the fiscal cliff have taken a toll on consumer confidence.