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Economic Data Deluge

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Charles Schwab (SCHW - Free Report)  is taking headlines this morning ahead of the opening bell, with its reported intent to purchase TD Ameritrade (AMTD - Free Report) . No dollar amount has been reported as of yet, although assets under management from such a merger would create roughly $5 TRILLION in assets under management. That would account for a lot of people trading stocks in their underwear.

Usually when reports like this come out, the buyer company temporarily (if not longer) takes a hit in its share price. In this case, AMTD shares are up 25% on the news, while Schwab is seeing a 10% bump. In other words: win-win!

Initial Jobless Claims this Thursday tiptoed out beyond our long-term range of 200-225K by 2000 to 227K — unchanged from the previous week’s upwardly revised report. This in itself is not so very damning (it’s 227K, after all, not 272K), though it does point to a potential low in claims having occurred a year ago or so, when results dipped below 200K temporarily.

Analysts have had one ear to the ground for a while now, trying to predict an ebb tide in the robust employment narrative that has been with us most of the past decade. Stepping beyond 225K new jobless claims is the very tip of this changing scenario, and there is no reason to believe these numbers couldn’t ratchet back a week from now. But it is a metric worth paying attention to, going forward.

Continuing Claims barely increased, from 1.692 million to 1.695 million in the latest read from two weeks ago. This alone should keep investors’ minds at ease on employment, as anything below 1.75 million on the long-term claims figure can be considered very good for the labor force. Again, we’ll keep an eye on it, but we see no reason for traders to worry about this current scenario.

The new Philly Fed survey for November increased to 10.4 from the 5.6 reported the previous month. Expectations were for around 7.0, and Philadelphia — the nation’s 6th-largest city — is outperforming what analysts were looking for. that said, today’s print is well below what we saw in July of this year: 21.8.

After today’s open, we will see new data for Existing Home Sales for October. Expectations are for 5.47 million seasonally adjusted, annualized units, up from the 5.38 million reported for September. This would help articulate what we saw on Tuesday, which was new Housing Starts lower than expected, while Building Permits were higher.

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