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Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

Another big morning for Q2 earnings posts, with mostly positive results. We also see new Initial Jobless Claims numbers ahead of tomorrow’s big non-farm payroll report and unemployment rate headline. After yesterday’s ADP (ADP - Free Report) private sector payroll report that was consistent with good news we’ve mostly been experiencing of late, expectations are for roughly 180K new jobs created. The unemployment rate last read was 4.4%.

Initial Jobless Claims fell 5000 to 240K last week, as the previous week had been revised up 1000. Again we see results range-bound between 225K-250K week to week, with very few outliers, over the past year or more. The 4-week moving average is currently 241,750, down 2500 week over week. Continuing claims again remained below 2 million, at 1.968 million.

And the Bank of England is taking steps to brace for its coming Brexit — the separation of Great Britain from the European Union, which was voted on last year (and cost Prime Minister David Cameron his job, pretty much) to the greater world’s surprise. BOE Governor Mark Carney is quoted as having said, “the assumption of a smooth transition to a new economic relationship with the EU will be tested.” As such, the Monetary Policy Committee will be keeping rates unchanged, and the BOE has lowered economic growth projections. The British Pound is down today.

Ahead of the bell, medical insurance giant Aetna (AET - Free Report) blasted past earnings estimates of $2.34 per share to post $3.42 ahead of this morning’s open. This represents 46% growth year over year. Membership was actually down year over year by 1.6%, but revenues also easily topped forecasts: $15.50 billion versus $15.35 billion expected. Shares are up over 4% in the pre-market.

Yum! Brands (YUM - Free Report) beat projections on both top and bottom lines this morning, posting 68 cents per share on sales of $1.45 billion in the quarter. The Zacks consensus had been looking for 61 cents per share and $1.41 billion in revenues, respectively. Comps at both KFC and Taco Bell were up: 3% and 4%, respectively.

Avon Products (AVP - Free Report) , however, has faired badly ahead of this morning’s open, down 10% in early trading on missed earnings and sales. A loss of 3 cents per share was lower than the gain of 5 cents expected, and revenues of $1.35 billion failed to reach the $1.44 billion in our Zacks consenus. Further, CEO Sheri McCoy has announced she will be stepping down from her post. Reports are that board pressure is the main reason.

Clorox (CLX - Free Report) posted narrow beats on top and bottom lines this morning. Earnings of $1.53 per share and revenues of $1.65 billion outperformed the $1.49 per share and $1.64 billion we had been looking for. Earnings grew 21% year over year, and the company’s fiscal year 2017 guidance was upped 9%. It’s Clorox’s third-straight earnings beat, as its Cleaning, Household, Lifestyle and International segments were all up in the quarter.

Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

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