A trio of economic reports came in considerably worse than expected Thursday, although the stock market's reaction was initially muted.
Wholesale prices, the trade deficit and first-time claims for unemployment benefits all shot up, the government said, ending a string of better-than-expected economic data and again casting doubt on the pace of economic recovery.
The producer price index rose 1.6% in January, and was up 0.9% excluding food and energy, the Labor Department said. Economists had actually been predicting another month of contraction in prices.
Meanwhile, the trade deficit ballooned to $44.2 billion in December, according to the Commerce Department. The reading compared with economists forecasts for a gap of about $39 billion and represents the biggest monthly deficit ever posted. November's $40.1 billion gap had previously been the largest.
And the number of first-time claims for jobless benefits shot up to 402,000 in the latest week from 381,000 in the previous, according to the Labor Department. The four-week moving average rose to 394,750, up from 390,000.
Stock futures had a muted reaction to the reports, all of which hit at 8:30 a.m. EST. The
was recently about 3 points above fair value after being 4 points above prior to the numbers. The Nasdaq 100 was still showing a 6.5-point gain.