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Imports/Exports Heat Up, Jobless Claims Increase

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Thursday, March 14, 2019

New February results on Import and Export Prices have hit the tape this morning, with both headline numbers hotter than expected: Imports reached +0.6% from the +0.4% estimated, and Exports also hit +0.6% from -0.1% anticipated.

These numbers depict energy-driven growth, as we see when we strip out petroleum imports and wind up with a +0.1% figure. Year over year, Imports registered -1.3% on the headline, a smaller negative than in the previous read. Exports of energy helped today’s headline number swing from a negative estimate, and year over year Exports are +0.3%.

Initial Jobless Claims crept higher week over week, by 6000 claims to be exact from the previous week, to 229K overall. This is technically above our long-term range of 200-225K we’d enjoyed for most of the past year-plus, but still consistent with our healthy domestic labor market. We have surrendered our 50-year lows we’d been experiencing late last summer, but it’s nothing worth losing any sleep over.

Continuing Claims also bumped up a bit, to 1.776 million longer-term jobless claims from 1.758 million the previous week. Again, these remain consistent with a favorable employment situation, which for February reported Unemployment at a mere 3.8%. That said, we do see things cooling a bit on this front, and we will continue to monitor where these weekly claims figures keep increasing.

Dollar General (DG - Free Report) reported fiscal Q4 earnings results before the bell this morning, with mixed results: earnings of $1.84 per share missed the Zacks consensus by 4 cents, even as the bottom line grew 24% year over year. Revenues in the quarter of $6.65 billion outperformed estimates by 0.72%. Shares are trading down 7% in today’s pre-market, after having climbed nearly 12% year to date. For more on DG’s earnings, click here.

After today’s close, we see a surprising number of earnings results set to come out, including tech majors Oracle (ORCL - Free Report) , Adobe (ADBE - Free Report) and Broadcom (AVGO - Free Report) , as well as specialty retailers Ulta (ULTA - Free Report) , Zumiez (ZUMZ - Free Report) , Tilly’s (TLYS - Free Report) and Turtle Beach (HEAR - Free Report) .

Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

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