Will February retail sales numbers tomorrow confirm the strength of U.S. economy indicated in Friday's jobs numbers?

03/12/2012 6:12 pm EST

Focus: STOCKS

Jim Jubak

Founder and Editor, JubakPicks.com

Tomorrow morning the stock market will be looking for confirmation that recent solid growth in the U.S. economy will continue. With European economies slowing and China’s growth in doubt global financial markets will be watching carefully to see if recent positive U.S. economic trends stay on track.

Tuesday’s data comes in the form of February U.S. retail sales and investors will be looking for confirmation that the U.S. consumer will keep driving the U.S. economic recovery. Economists are forecasting growth of 1% for retail sales. That would be up from 0.4% growth in January. Given the good news Friday on growth in aggregate incomes in the United States and recent data from the Federal Reserve showing an increase in consumer debt, I think there’s a good chance that retail sales will come in above expectations.

The week is then relatively quiet on economic news in the United States until Thursday when we get another episode in the continuing initial claims for unemployment story. Economists are looking for a slight drop to 360,000 new claims for unemployment from 362,000 in the prior week. Even that small drop would be enough to keep the four-week moving average trending lower. And that, in turn, would confirm the good jobs news from Friday, March 9.

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