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Weekly Jobless Claims Decline

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Stock futures point to a higher opening today as Weekly Jobless Claims data displayed a decline. Initial Jobless Claims decreased 14,000 to 385,000 for the week ended Jul 31. However, this compares to the consensus estimate of 382,000. The previous week's data was revised downward 1,000 to 399,000.

Despite improvement in weekly unemployment benefit claims in absolute terms, the figure is still much higher than roughly 200,000 in the pre-pandemic level. The 4-week moving average, which smooths out weekly fluctuations, came in at 394,000 compared to downwardly revised 394,250 in the previous week.

Continuing Claims— those who have collected benefits for two straight weeks — were reported at one week lag. This metric dropped sharply by 366,000 to 2.93 million for the week ended Jul 24. For the first time since Mar 14, 2020, continuing claims fell below 3 million.

 For the week ended Jul 17, the total number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits from government programs across the board was nearly 12.98 million, a decrease of 181,250 from the previous week. 

U.S. Trade Deficitin goods and services traded was $75.7 billion in June, increasing $4.8 billion from $71.0 billion in May. The consensus estimate was for a deficit of $73.3 billion. Total exports were valued at $207.7 billion in June, an increase of $1.2 billion from May. Total imports were valued at $283.4 billion in June, an increase of $6 billion from the previous month.

The Bank of England (BOE) has kept its benchmark lending rate as low as 0.1%, where it has been since March 2020. In a majority vote, the central bank has also decided to continue with the quantitative easing program at £895 billion ($1.25 trillion). However, BOE projects the inflation rate to reach 4% in Q4 2021 and Q1 2022, compared to the estimated 3.5% in May.

In a major M&A deal in REIT, casino owner VICI Properties Inc. (VICI - Free Report) has agreed to acquire gaming REIT MGM Growth Properties LLC (MGP - Free Report) for $17.2 billion. The deal will likely make VICI the largest landowner on the Las Vegas Strip.

The second-quarter earnings results continue to remain strong. Biotech major Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (REGN - Free Report) came out with quarterly earnings of $25.80 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $19.55. The company posted revenues of $5.14 billion for the quarter ended June 2021, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 31.92%. To get more information on REGN earnings, click here.

Insurance behemoth Cigna Corp. (CI - Free Report) came out with quarterly earnings of $5.24 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4.96. The company posted revenues of $43.11 billion for the quarter ended June 2021, outpacing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 4.46%. For a detailed discussion on CI earnings, click here.

Electric Power utility giant Duke Energy Corp. (DUK - Free Report) reported quarterly earnings of $1.15 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.12. The top line came in at $5.76 billion for the quarter ended June 2021, exceeding the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 0.09%. For knowing more on DUK earnings, click here.