Visual COBOL initializes all working storage items without VALUE clauses to SPACES .The RM/COBOL system initializes all working storage items to SPACES, unless you have placed numeric data items between data items with VALUE clauses.
If this feature causes you any problems, because your program relies on the initial value given to the system, add a VALUE clause with the appropriate value to your source program and resubmit it.
The RM/COBOL system initializes the following group item to SPACES:
01 group-item. 03 item-1 pic x. 03 item-2 pic 99. 03 item-3 pic x.
However, if item-1 and item-3 have value clauses associated with them, the RM/COBOL system initializes the second byte of item-2 to hexadecimal value 0 when item-2 is defined as USAGE COMP (signed or unsigned) or USAGE DISPLAY (unsigned only).