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Jobless Claims the Lowest in 48 Years

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Just when you thought Initial Jobless Claims couldn’t go lower, we see an almost shocking headline of just 207K new claims last week, down 8,000 from the previous week’s (slightly upwardly revised) 215K, down even more from the consensus estimate 224K and surprisingly beneath the headline from two weeks ago, which was 232K new claims. Which means not only do week remain within the new-ish, until recently unheard-of range of 220K-225K, but we’re closer to breaking under 200K weekly claims than we are to the previous higher range.

Not too belabor this result, but jobless claims have just hit a 48-year low. Continuing claims ticked up just a bit, from 1.743 million a week ago to 1.75 million in today’s read (reporting on a one-week lag). These are still applause-worthy numbers, fully consistent with our labor market narrative of historic levels of strength. Though new Q2 earnings reports will take center stage today and for the remainder of the week, these claims numbers are nothing short of stupendous.

The Philly Fed headline for July also came in hotter than expected: 25.7 versus the 20.8 estimate, and well above the June read of 19.9. These numbers are typically volatile in that they track the economic development of just one city in the U.S., though Philadelphia is still top-ten in population. The City of Brotherly Love has also seen business and infrastructure growth over much of the overall U.S. recovery.

Before heading into earnings reports, a new story has hit the tape this morning: Comcast (CMCSA - Free Report)  has announced it will forego further bids on assets of 21st Century Fox (FOXA - Free Report) in order to solidify its focus on obtaining Sky Broadcasting assets. This would effectively put Disney (DIS - Free Report) in the driver’s seat, although it, too, had been pursuing Sky. Not all the smoke has cleared yet, but it seems this long-awaited result is finally approaching.

After today’s closing bell, we look forward to fresh earnings from Microsoft (MSFT - Free Report) , among others. But with just time enough to record a few quarterly earnings, we focus on those with a high Zacks Rank:

Railroad major Union Pacific (UNP - Free Report) , a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy)-rated stock, outperformed estimates on both top and bottom lines this morning, with $1.98 per share topping the $1.94 Zacks consensus, up 36.6% year over year, on quarterly revenues of $5.67 billion, topping the $5.60 billion expected. Higher freight revenues boosted the top line, which rose 8% year over year. For more on UNP’s earnings, click here.

Zacks Rank #2-rated Fifth Third Bank (FITB - Free Report)  posted mixed results in its Q2 report, beating bottom-line estimates by 6 cents to 63 cents per share while narrowly missing on the top line to $1.59 billion from the $1.61 billion expected. That said, revenues did rise 4.6% year over year. For more on FITB’s earnings, click here.