Thursday brought us better news on Jobless Claims as new claims fell (352K vs 383K consensus a prior revised higher as usual to 401K). The problem of course is with continuing claims and the number of people who have fallen off the rolls.
The CPI was unchanged for the month and this gave bulls the idea
another round of QE was in the works
as early as this month. The Philly Fed Survey was a disappointment and miss (7.3 vs 10 expected and previous at 10.5). Housing Starts declined (.657M vs .678M expected and previous .685M).
Other news noted the ECB buying ¿50 billion of sovereign debt in the eurozone. Still the idea of an extra $500 billion IMF bailout (bringing the total to nearly $1 trillion) lingers even as it's already been shot down given necessary U.S. congressional approval.
In Asia, China is officially easing bank lending constraints (meaning reserve requirements) as home prices are dropping.
Earnings from Bank of America (BAC) surprised investors with a profit. But, looking more closely under the hood much of this was the result of one-time gains on asset sales and so forth. The stock rocketed higher early and then sold off to close the day up modestly. Morgan Stanley (MS) also reported less of a loss (gotta love that!) than was expected and the stock settled a little over 3% higher. So stocks were higher as headline writers suggest: "U.S. Stocks Rise on BofA , Morgan Results" (via MarketWatch). Yep, it's hard to write this stuff with a straight face sometimes.
Now our attention turns to tech earnings from Intel (INTC), Google (GOOG), IBM (IBM) and Microsoft (MSFT) to name a few which will be announced after the close of trading.
Gold was lower as the CPI was flat. The dollar continued to decline on a euro short squeeze. Oil prices were flat as tensions with Iran continue and base metals prices were higher with Chinese easing. Bond prices fell.
Volume remains light and perhaps this is now the new normal as many are sitting on their wallets. Breadth per the WSJ was positive but we're short-term overbought now. It wouldn't take much to turn it all over (Iran, eurozone, earnings and so forth.)
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