A Home Depot worker.

Wall Street Journal staffer Paul Ziobro looks into the exuberant Q4 data reported by Home Depot as a proxy for economic health in the heartland, where more Americans with jobs focus on improvement in homes that are regaining value.

Ziobro's analysis looks at Home Depot as a retailer in a class by itself, less prone to the volatility of whipsawing financial markets and geographically limited energy economy gyrations. He notes that the data show that homeowners are intent in their plans to make home improvements, and willing to spend to carry out those plans. He writes:

Big-ticket items, which generally are vulnerable to weakness in equity markets, held strong over the quarter. The number of transactions totaling over $900 rose 11.9%, fueled by shoppers installing new roofs and kitchen cabinets and purchases of appliances.

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