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Jobless Claims Down, Trade Deficit Up

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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Ahead of the second-to-last trading day of 2016, the Dow still searches for that elusive 20K level. And because we’re in an unusually inactive time on the market calendar — no highly important earnings or econ data is expected until next week — there is little to push the markets in wither direction. Even oil prices are looking flat — WTI down, Brent up — this morning.

However, we did see Initial Jobless Claims and Trade Balance numbers before the opening bell today, with new jobless claims falling 10K to last week’s abnormally high read to 265K. This is still higher than this result has been in recent weeks, but historically consistent with a sturdy labor market. Continuing claims rose a bit to 2.1 million from the revised figure last week of just under 2.04 million.

The U.S. trade deficit reached $65.3 billion — the highest read of 2016. We’d have to look back to March of 2015 to see a bigger number. Preliminary inventories are up, in Home and Retail Investment roughly 1% each.

Otherwise, we’re going to be in somewhat of a holding pattern before the Trump administration takes over the U.S. Executive branch of government, as well as activity on the global oil front — specifically whether the OPEC agreement is being followed by the Middle Eastern companies of that consortium and other oil producers — from Russia to Venezuela — that have pledged to cut supply.

Most investors will be active these next two days selling off losers to write off 2016 taxes in the new year. But if you’ve been taking advantage of our Zacks recommendations, you likely don’t have too many down-stocks to sell.

Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

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