New claims for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week to the lowest level in more than four and a half years, suggestiing improvement in the labor market. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 30,000 to a seasonally adjusted 339,000, It’s lowest number of new claims since February 2008. The prior week’s figure was revised up to show 2,000 more applications than previously reported. Economists expected 370,0000 last week. The four-week moving average for new claims, a better measure of labor market trends, fell 11,500 to 364,000.
The U.S. Census Bureau said the trade deficit fell slightly to $44.2 billion from July to August.
The Labor Department reported import prices rose 1.1% in September while export prices rose 0.8%.
Japan’s Softbank is in talks to acquire telecom operator Sprint Nextel (S), which is why they are up +16% this morning.
Credit rating agency S&P downgraded Spain late Wednesday, and warned that the latest plan to recapitalize Spanish banks “still lacks predictability.”
European stocks are up and Asian markets ended mixed.
Wal-Mart (WMT) is at a 52 week high and Intel (INTC) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) are at 52 week lows.
n/a G7 finance ministers meet in Tokyo.
0330 ET Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen speaks in Tokyo on economy panel.
0830 ET Weekly initial unemployment claims expected +3,000 to 370,000, previous +4,000 to 367,000. Weekly continuing claims expected -6,000 to 3.275 mln, previous unch at 3.281 mln.
0830 ET Sep import price index expected +0.7% m/m and -1.3% y/y, Aug +0.7% m/m and -2.2% y/y.
0830 ET Aug U.S. trade deficit expected -$44.0 bln, July -$42.0 bln.
0830 ET USDA monthly WASDE report.
0830 ET USDA weekly Net Export Sales.
1030 ET DOE Weekly Petroleum Status Report.
1115 ET Fed Governor Sarah Raskin in France at 2012 Women’s Forum Global Meeting participates in panel discussion titled “Why has growth become so inequitable and what to do about it?”
1230 ET Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser speaks in PA on the U.S. economic outlook.
1300 ET Treasury auction of $13 billion of 30-year T-bonds.
1630 ET Weekly money supply report and Fed balance sheet.
1100 ET Treasury announces 30-year TIPS auction for Oct 18.
1800 ET St. Louis Fed President James Bullard meets with reporters at St. Louis Fed conference to discuss the economy.
2100 ET Vice presidential candidate debate at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky.