The companies best-positioned to weather the recession are market-share leaders or those that sell everyday necessities, writes Douglas A. McIntyre in Newsweek. But the economic bellwethers that will herald the recovery are more likely No. 2 or No. 3 in their industries, like Target, whose quarterly numbers should indicate when consumers are ready to buy retail again. A few more to watch:
- Starbucks: When the bastion of middle-income beverage shows improvement, modest discretionary spending is rebounding.
- Staples: An improvement in sales at this office supply chain means small businesses—the most difficult to gauge—are gearing up.
- CBS: When marketers ratchet up ad dollar spending, it indicates corporations see better days ahead.
- E*Trade: A rising asset-per-customer number means individual investors are ready to wade back into stocks, a good sign for everyone.