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Jobless Claims Hit Pandemic Lows; Plus Q1 for T, LUV, AAL

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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Ahead of today’s opening bell, we see a new low for Initial Jobless Claims in the pandemic era: 547K new claims were made last week, below the 603K analysts were expecting and notably below the upwardly revised 586K from the previous week. A year ago, we were still seeing almost 3 million more new jobless claims than we do now. Obviously, we’re not yet close to pre-pandemic levels, but if we continue at this pace, we’ll shed another 1/3 of our totals over the next 12 weeks.

Continuing Claims of 3.67 million also made a new low since the pandemic began to squeeze the labor force, down from the downwardly revised 3.71 million the previous week. These longer-term claims are reported a week previous to initial claims, so indications are for this trend to keep sloping lower. We also continue to absorb very long-term and other forms of pandemic-induced unemployment via Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which is being kept in place for now.

AT&T (T - Free Report) posted a better quarter than expected in its Q1 earnings release before today’s opening bell, with 86 cents per share reported for the quarter a 9-cent beat over the Zacks consensus, 2 cents higher than Q1 2020. Revenues also came in hotter than projections indicated: $43.94 billion from $42.76 billion consensus. With stronger competition than ever before in telecom services and streaming entertainment, this strong Q1 report is sending T shares up 4%, swinging to positive for the year. For more on T's earnings, click here.

Southwest Airlines (LUV - Free Report) beat expectations by a solid dime to a quarterly loss of $1.72 per share. Revenues also topped the Zacks consensus slightly, to $2.05 billion in the quarter from $2.03 billion estimated. The company is “hopeful” it can bring to an end its cash burn by June, the end of the current quarter. With travel plans picking up, we expect major airlines to climb out of their pandemic holes. Shares are up 2.5% in early trading. For more on LUV's earnings, click here.

American Airlines (AAL - Free Report) posted mixed results in its Q1 earnings report this morning: -$4.32 per share was a 3-cents beat over estimates, while $4.01 in quarterly sales was slightly under the $4.03 billion expected — 53% lower on the top line than in the year-ago quarter. But American announced it has already turned cash-flow positive during Q1, so performances from here may be even more optimistic. Shares have gained 3% on the news ahead of the opening bell. For more on AAL's earnings, click here.

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