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Jobless Claims Low & Steady, Philly Fed Surprises Higher

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Thursday, April 18th, 2024

Pre-market futures are positive across the board at this hour. We do see some discrepancies, depending on the index, particularly after this mornings earnings reports and economic prints have hit the tape: the Dow has moved from +50 points to +70, the Nasdaq has gone from +40 points to +25, and the S&P 500 has remained steady at +5 points so far in early trading. So far this week, all three indices are in the red over the past month — as of this past weekend.

Initial Jobless Claims remain the steadiest of all employment metrics over the past six months or so. This morning, we see 212K new claims filed for last week, below the 215K expected but in-line with the slightly upwardly revised 212K from the previous week. Since November of last year, we’ve only had one weekly read above +230K and three below +200K. What’s more significant about this is that we are now back to our pre-pandemic norms on new jobless claims.

Continuing Claims have also been exceptionally well-behaved. The 1.812 million reported for two weeks ago (Continuing Claims reports a week in arrears from new claims) is only slightly ahead of the downwardly adjusted 1.810 million the previous week, and back to where we were in the earliest months of 2020 (though not in the 1.5-1.6 million range we saw in 2019). Since a bout of turbulence in longer-term jobless claims from last fall to early February, we’ve hovered right around 1.8 million claims — a very good sign for the labor market as a whole.

The April Philly Fed survey surprised to the upside this morning. Its 15.5 reported is the highest monthly print in two years. This beats the 1.5-2.5 estimate and unrevised 3.2 from last month. This also marks the third-straight positive manufacturing survey from the sixth-largest city in the U.S., which follows five straight months in negative territory. Discounting the crater in Philly Fed data from the early pandemic, levels around +10-20 are consistent with norms we’ve seen over the past 10 years.

Zaxcks Rank #2 (Buy)-rated D.R. Horton (DHI - Free Report) is out with fiscal Q2 earnings this morning. The homebuilding major outperformed notably on both top and bottom lines: earnings of $3.52 per share amounted to a double-digit positive surprise over the $3.08 in the Zacks consensus, while $9.11 billion in revenues beat estimates of $8.27 billion in the quarter. Full-year revenue guidance has bumped higher, just like the share price this morning: +3.6%, bringing the stock back into positive territory year to date.

After today’s closing bell, Netflix (NFLX - Free Report) brings out Q1 earnings. The leader in streaming entertainment is expected to show +56% earnings growth year over year, +13.5% on revenues. During the regular trading session, Existing Home Sales and Leading Economic Indicators, both for March, are expected to come out. We’ll also hear comments on the economy and the interest rate dot-plot from Fed Governor Michelle Bowman and Fed Presidents John Williams (New York) and Raphael Bostic (Atlanta).

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