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LIFE AND THE EXPECTATIONS GAME - By Charles Payne

I know this has looked like a dull week in the market with very light volume and little news, but beneath the surface an important tug-o-war is going on. The post-jobs report period is a prime time for market moves. When that report is inconclusive the market becomes rudderless. When the market becomes rudderless nervous-investors bail, which has been the case, yet it hasn't triggered additional selling. Why those spying the exits haven't taken one of these intra-day dips to bolt from the market remains a mystery, and also a positive sign.

February Retail Sales

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, retail sales during February increased year-over-year by 1.5 percent and increased month-over-month by 0.3 percent, better than the consensus estimate calling for a 0.2 percent month-over-month rise. Excluding automobile related revenues, retail sales increased year-over-year by 1.3 percent and increased month-over-month by 0.3 percent, better than the consensus estimate calling for a 0.2 percent month-over-month rise.

Initial Jobless Claims

According to the Department of Labor, initial claims during the week ended March 8th totaled 315,000, decreasing from the 324,000 revised figure reported for the prior week and landing below the Street's estimate of 329,000. The initial claims' four-week moving average was 330,500, decreasing from the prior week's average of 336,750.