Stocks are Up

Stocks are up today. Perhaps because of this story.

Sales at U.S. chain stores faltered last week as many consumers, worried by a weak economy and scarce jobs, stayed away from shopping malls, two separate reports said. Icy weather in parts of the country also kept shoppers away.

The drop in sales was viewed by some as a worrying omen for the remainder of the crucial holiday shopping season.

“Unless sales pick up in the next two weeks, we will fall short of the weak holiday results recorded in 2000 and 2001,” said Dana Johnson, chief economist at Banc One Capital Markets in Chicago.

A separate government report showed stocks on wholesalers’ shelves fell for the first time in half a year in October, down 0.3 percent after rising 0.4 percent in September and confounding expectations for a 0.1 percent rise.

Prosperity is just around the corner.