Weekly Jobless and Claims and Retail Sales Look Weak

Stock Split ImageThursday brought two economic reports. First was the weekly jobless claims, followed by January retail sales. Oddly enough, weather was not really cited for any weakness. Stocks were already weak, and they have drifted a bit lower since the reports.

The U.S. Labor Department is out with its weekly jobless claims, and the news is that claims rose by 8,000 to 339,000. Bloomberg and Dow Jones were calling for 330,000, and the range of estimates from economists at Bloomberg was 325,000 to 336,000. Last week's reading was unrevised at 331,000.

The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending January 25 was 3,524,188, an increase of 57,339 from the previous week. There were 5,918,175 persons claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2013. No state was triggered "on" the extended benefits program during the week ending January 25.

January retail sales came to $427.8 billion, or -0.4%, versus the Bloomberg estimate of -0.1%. The Commerce Department showed that on an ex-auto basis, that figure was 0.0%, versus the Bloomberg consensus of +0.1%.

The takeaway is that both numbers were a tad weaker than expected. The other take is that neither should have been weak enough to make too much of a market ripple — yet shares slid after the reports. S&P futures were down 10 points and DJIA futures were down just over 80 points. Both have been weak all morning.

Filed under: Economy
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