Strong retail sales on the big shopping holiday is a good sign. The bears are trying to downplay it saying that it was only due to the slashing of prices and it won't do much for profits. I think anything to restore some consumer confidence at this point is a positive. The consumer has been very rattled, as the media has come at them from all directions. Fuel prices, housing issues, weak dollar, etc. I think the resilience of the American consumer will surprise us again.
As I've said before, if we get little to no new bad news, especially from the financial names, I think stocks will rally.
We will need a rally in financials to move the major indexes, as they are so heavily weighted in Dow, S&P, etc. Aside from some one-day short covering, we haven't seen any sign that they will rally yet.
But overall, these slower news days are just what the market needs. An opportunity for the volatility to decease, which will bring back confidence for consumers and investors alike.