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Unemployment claims rose 5,000 to 333,000 in the week ending August 3rd.   However, the 4-week average fell 6,250 to 335,500.  The 4-week average hit a new low for the cycle slipping below the 338,000 at the turn of April/May.  Unemployment claims are back at levels seen just before the start of the Great Recession in late 2007.

The seasonal adjustment factor will put upward pressure on seasonally adjusted claims numbers in the coming weeks.   Non-seasonally adjusted claims tend to fall into early September, and then start rising into October and November.   Thus, continued seasonally adjusted readings in the 330,000 area could be a sign of healing labor market conditions and may embolden the Fed to start its QE tapering.

The equity market has loosely tracked the direction of unemployment claims with stocks tending to trade firm when claims are flat or falling and weakening when claims are trending higher.

Here are two RTI questions:

Which labor indicator is more important in determining the outlook for QE tapering: unemployment claims or nonfarm payrolls?

Do you think that continued low unemployment claims can offset the impact of QE tapering?


Zacks Releases Their 7 Best Stocks for May, 2014

These 7 were hand-picked from the list of 220 Zacks Rank #1 Strong Buys with earnings estimate revisions that are sweeping upward. Their stock prices are expected to rise sooner than the others.

Today, this Special Report is available to new visitors free of charge.

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Zacks #1 Rank Top Movers for Zacks #1 Rank Top Movers

Company Symbol Price %Chg
DIXIE GRP IN DXYN 15.84 +7.90%
BOFI HLDG IN BOFI 85.30 +4.97%
RAMBUS INC RMBS 12.31 +4.41%
VIPSHOP HOLD VIPS 148.73 +4.35%
NETFLIX INC NFLX 345.74 +4.32%