Positive Signals

” Pessimism leads to weakness, Optimism to Power”  William James

1. The retail industry’s slow but steady recovery picked up the pace in February, with the nation’s merchants posting the best sales results in more than two years.

It was the strongest gain since November 2007, a month before the recession began, and the sixth consecutive month of increases.

2. Billionaire Warren Buffett  said the U.S. will recover from the residential real estate slump by 2011 as demand for houses catches up with the supply that accumulated during the bubble.

3.  The University of San Diego Index of Leading Economic Indicators continued its positive trend in January, rising 0.6 percent, with five of six index components showing gains.

The university released the information Feb. 25. The index is a product of economist Alan Gin.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance dropped by 1.76 percent; the index regards that as a positive. Help-wanted advertising grew by half a percentage point. Building permits rose almost a full point, at 0.96 percent. Local stock prices rose 0.52 percent.

4.  The national economy grew by 0.56 percent, according to Bloomberg News, recent surveys indicate that CEOs are more upbeat about the economy than they have been in sometime.  Given the conservative nature of this group of individuals, this is good news indeed.

As Bloomberg News put it recently, corporate chief executives in the U.S. are more confident that the world’s largest economy is on the road to recovery as the job market stabilizes and business investment increases, a private survey found.

The Business Council’s confidence gauge climbed to 64.7 this month, the highest level in at least four years and up from 63.2 in October, a report from the Washington group showed. Readings greater than 50 signal economic growth.

Commercial Lending Uptick
That readiness to restart was reflected in a separate survey of 60 banks and other lenders at the Mortgage Bankers Association annual conference in Las Vegas last week. Of those surveyed for Jones Lang LaSalle, a commercial real estate services firm, 24 said they would make $2 billion to $4billion
worth of commercial real estate loans each this year.
The reports reflect the belief of many people in the field that commercial real estate is going through its last stage of the crisis
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