We are down to four days left for President Obama and Congress to agree to a plan that would avert tax hikes and spending cuts from kicking in automatically on Jan. 1. Will lawmakers resolve a self-inflicted crisis that could tip the economy into recession or will we get a short-term compromise that prevents the worst and delays more difficult decisions to later in the year.
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment aid fell last week to nearly its lowest level in 4 1/2 years, a sign that the labor market is healing. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 350,000. The prior week’s figure was revised to show 1,000 more applications than previously reported.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in a letter to Congress Wednesday, said government borrowing will hit the debt ceiling on Monday. As a result, the Treasury Department will soon start using what it calls “extraordinary measures” to prevent government borrowing from exceeding the legal limit.
Bank of America (BAC) is at a new high again.
AA will be the first Dow stock to report earnings on 1/8/2012.
Yesterday the Dow was down -24.49 (-0.19%) at 13,114.59.
The national average price of gasoline is up 1.4 cents to per gallon.
Earnings reports (estimates): None.
0830 ET Weekly initial unemployment claims expected -1,000 to 360,000, previous +17,000 to 361,000. Weekly continuing claims expected +75,000 to 3.200 mln, previous +12,000 to 3.225 mln.
1000 ET Dec U.S. consumer confidence index (Conference Board) expected -3.7 to 70.0, Nov +0.6 to 73.7.
1000 ET Nov new home sales expected +3.3% to 380,000, Oct -0.3% to 368,000.
1630 ET API weekly petroleum inventory report.