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Two Ways: Expectations Too Dim?


Strengthen your portfolio in good times and bad.

Are expectations in this bear market too dim? This morning, we received a clue: The Commerce Department said sales in February at US retailers fell just 0.1% exceeding economists' expectations of a drop of 0.5%.

Less autos, that number actually gained 0.7% versus expectations of a 0.1% decline. Adding to the sentiment, sales from January were all revised higher coming in at 1.8% instead of the original 1.0% as previously reported. Excluding autos, retail sales increased 1.6% versus the previous figure of 0.9%.

Separately, the Labor Department reported weekly jobless claims rose to 654,000 in the week ended March 7. The 4-week moving average rose to 650,000, the highest in over 25 years.

For more context on the economy, see Professor Kevin Depew's Five Things.

From the Bull Pen: Judging by Professor Bennet Sedacca's chart on jobless claims this morning, it could be a low for some time. The action in the S&P 500 was very constructive, blowing past many lines of resistance. Bulls can consider the depository receipts (SPY); a pullback to 74.50ish could provide one with an entry point.

From the Bear Cave: Mea culpa this morning on eBay (EBAY). It shows the dangers of currently being short in this market. Cash is a position, and bears can look to revisit downside plays at a "safer" time.

See you at Stag's Head. Have a good night!
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