Find good news where you can

February comp-store sales were almost uniformly soft, but (almost without exception) better than expected…or maybe “less bad than expected” is a better way to put it. Walmart delivered comp-store sales over 5% (2.4% was expected), Kohl’s was down 1.6%, several mall-based chains dropped in the single-digits instead of the double-digit declines expected by analysts.

What does this mean? I pointed out over the weekend that there are a few signs of a pulse in the economy if you are willing to look for them, instead of focusing relentlessly on negativity. This is one of those signs that consumers may be “finding the bottom” ahead of the stock market and especially ahead of the financial and housing industries.

And here’s some more good news (or “less bad news”) that just hit the AP newswires:

The number of new jobless claims and the total number of people receiving unemployment benefits both dropped more than expected last week, though they remain at elevated levels and are unlikely to fall substantially in the coming months. Few economists expect a turnaround in the battered labor market anytime soon with companies laying off thousands of workers weekly. Still, the tally of initial requests for unemployment benefits fell to 639,000 from the previous week’s figure of 670,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. Analysts expected a smaller drop to 650,000.

Like I say, find good news where you can, and be ready for the eventual rebound.


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