Major US stock index were little changed at the opening bell this morning, SP500 down fractionally and the DOW down -0.1% (SPY -0.1%). The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell to near a 44-year-low last week.
Here is the current market situation from CNN Money
European markets are mixed today. The CAC 40 is up 0.08% while the DAX gains 0.07%. The FTSE 100 is off 0.02%.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell to near a 44-year-low last week, pointing to further tightening of the labor market even as economic growth appears to have remained moderate in the first quarter.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Snap Inc's in-demand shares are set to start trading in New York on Thursday after the owner of the popular Snapchat messaging app raised $3.4 billion in its initial public offering (IPO) on Wednesday, above its price expectations.
BOSTON (Reuters) - An investor committee that advises the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will next week review if Snap Inc's decision to deny shareholders voting rights might also reduce the social media company's public disclosures on executive pay and other governance matters, the head of that committee told Reuters on Wednesday.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A bipartisan pair of lawmakers on the U.S. Senate Banking Committee are planning to introduce a bill that aims to entice private corporations to give their employees larger equity stakes in their companies and promote longer-term investing.
COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Boeing will take Denmark to court over a lack of access to documents used in a decision to select Lockheed Martin's F-35 over Boeing's F/A 18 Super Hornet in a fighter jet contract awarded last year.
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Swedish home appliance maker Electrolux said on Thursday it was buying U.S. firm Grindmaster-Cecilware, a maker of coffee machines and beverage dispensers, for $108 million in cash.
BONN, Germany (Reuters) - Deutsche Telekom forecast its core profit growth would halve this year as earnings engine T-Mobile US slows, strengthening the case for a U.S. mobile merger that Deutsche Telekom has long desired.
From Mark Cudmore, a former FX trader who writes for Bloomberg
March Hike Is Now Base Case as U.S. Data Game Shifts: Macro View
Lael Brainard's hawkish comments confirm that a March rate rise must now be the base case for investors, and it's unlikely the upcoming data even matters.
Brainard is not only part of the Fed's core, she's arguably the most dovish member of it. When she sends a hawkish message, you need to pay attention.
I didn't believe a March hike was coming. I was wrong. Brainard's speech wasn't an anomaly -- Dudley had laid the groundwork already on Tuesday.
It's not a completely done deal, but investors must now be studying the calendar to see what could derail a March hike. How quickly things change. Only a week ago, we were debating what could be the catalyst to make March likely.
The key inflation data came out last night and hardly presented a compelling case for monetary-policy tightening. In fact, the broad data picture has been more indicative of an economy that could probably cope with a hike rather than one at risk of overheating and in need of tightening.
This implies that the Fed's motivation for tightening is more related to the resilient sentiment of markets rather than data-driven. Perhaps annoyed by its failure to raise rates by more earlier in the economic cycle, it is now keen to hike whenever it's confident it can get away with it.
The corollary is that any data disappointment in the next two weeks will be unlikely to stop the Fed from tightening, and only a severe market correction will stop them acting now. And we haven't seen one of those in more than a year.
The consequences of a March hike are not yet fully priced. Many in the market will wait for Janet Yellen's Friday message to confirm the plan. That may be prudent, but don' ...
The month of February was a mixed to positive among a broad sample of assets.
On the one hand the month saw those assets more sensitive to Trump's proposed policies continue performing solidly despite some uncertainty still about what to expect from the new President. On the other hand, Euro assets have largely underperformed likely reflecting some concern about the upcoming European elections and particularly those in France and Italy. That's despite economic data holding up relatively well. Another theme which has been consistent through much of the month has been the incredibly low level of volatility across the vast majority of asset classes even with the political uncertainty.
According to Deutsche Bank, it has seen 35 of its 39 assets finish the month with a positive return in local currency terms, but just 26 assets in dollar terms with the weaker Euro (-2%) and Pound (-2%) helping to prop up local currency returns.
Looking closer at performance during the month, the top 6 performers in the sample in dollar terms are the Bovespa (+4%), Silver (+4%), S&P 500 (+4%), Greek equities (+3%), Gold (+3%) and EM equities (+3%). It's interesting to see that despite 4 of those 6 assets being equity markets (and 2 of which being EM), the fact that Gold and Silver have still done well this month suggests that there is still a desire to have flight to quality and tail risk (or relation) hedges in place.
Equity markets in Asia have also had a reasonable month with the Shanghai Comp (+3%), Hang Seng (+2%) and Nikkei (+1%) all up. It's a slightly mixed story in Europe though. While the Stoxx 600 (+1%) and DAX (+1%) have just about stayed onside European Banks, French equities and Italian equities are all in the 0% to -4% range.
A similar theme has played out in bonds too. In dollar terms Gilts (+2%) and Treasuries (+1%) have evidently benefited from the relative safety flight while BTP's (-1%), Spanish Bonds (-2%) a ...
The market expectations for weekly initial unemployment claims (from Bloomberg / Econoday) were 240 K to 250 K (consensus 245,000), and the Department of Labor reported 223,000 new claims. The more important (because of the volatility in the weekly reported claims and seasonality errors in adjusting the data) 4 week moving average moved from 240,500 (reported last week as 241,000) to 234,250. The rolling averages generally have been equal to or under 300,000 since August 2014.
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