Jobless Claims In Focus In Thursday’s Premarket

Morning Outlook

Wall Street will continue to look for direction in Thursday’s session. With jobless claims being released before the bell, investors hope that the employment momentum continues into the new month. Key policy makers from both the Fed and ECB will be making comments. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 19 points to 13,947, while those for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed 2.5 points to 1,509.30. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 index advanced 5.25 points to 2,742.50.

Wall Street finished mostly higher in trading Wednesday. After being down over 60 points, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 7.22 points, or 0.1%, at 13,986.52 with 19 out of 30 blue chip components finishing green. The S&P 500 Index ended up 0.83 point, or 0.1%, at 1,512.12. Telecoms, utilities and consumer discretionary stocks led the way in the uneven session. The tech heavy Nasdaq Composite Index was the lone decliner of the three major averages, ending down 3.1 points, or 0.1%, at 3,168.48.

Currencies and Commodities

The dollar rose 0.20% at 93.8300 yen in the currency market. The euro is gaining 0.27% at $1.3560 while the pound appreciated 0.33% to $1.5714. Gold is falling $2.50 to $1,676.20 an ounce, while silver is losing 0.24% at $31.80. Light, sweet crude for March delivery is up 27 cents to $96.85 per barrel on the NYMEX; a 0.28% advance.

Economic Calendar

8:30 AM
Jobless Claims: New unemployment claims for the week of February 2nd , to show the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time. The fewer people filing for unemployment benefits, the more have jobs, the more income in the consumer’s pocket, as well as a forecast on the strength of the economy. The consensus is for an increase to 360,000 for first time jobless claims after posting a big 38,000 increase to 368,000 the week prior. The four week moving average of 352,000 is down about 7,000 from a month ago. The consensus range goes from 350K to 365K.

8:30 AM
Productivity and Costs: Productivity measures the growth of labor efficiency in producing the economy’s goods and services for the 4th quarter. Unit labor costs reflect the labor costs of producing each unit of output. Productivity growth is critical because it allows for higher wages and faster economic growth without inflationary consequences. The consensus change in nonfarm productivity is a 1.3% decline quarter over quarter. Nonfarm business productivity rose an annualized 2.9 percent in the third quarter, compared to the initial estimate of a 1.9 percent gain. The consensus change in unit labor costs is 3.1%. Unit labor costs were revised down to an annualized 1.9 percent decrease in Q2, compared to the original estimate of down 0.1 percent. The range goes as low as -3.5% and high as 0.8%.

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