Jobless claims: Another 793,000 Americans filed new unemployment claims last week
Yahoo Finance/Emily McCormick
New weekly unemployment claims pulled back slightly but held at elevated levels last week, and the prior week’s new claims were upwardly revised as the coronavirus pandemic exerted more pressure on the labor market.
The Department of Labor released its weekly report on new jobless claims Thursday morning at 8:30 a.m. ET. Here were the main results from the report, compared to consensus estimates compiled by Bloomberg:
Initial jobless claims, week ended Feb. 6: 793,000 vs. 760,000 expected and a revised 812,000 during the prior week
Continuing claims, week ended Jan. 30: 4.545 million vs. 4.420 million expected and a revised 4.690 million during the prior week
The stock market is on a ‘highway to the danger zone,’ Jim Cramer says
CNBC’s Jim Cramer sounded the alarm Wednesday saying that the stock market is inching closer to a frothy environment, where investors pay up for stocks while ignoring fundamentals.
“You wouldn’t know it from the sedate action in the averages … but this is starting to feel a little bit like a Kenny Loggins market,” he said after the close on “Mad Money,” “We’re on — I’m going to say it — a highway to the danger zone.”
The comments come after a mixed session of trading with the S&P 500 closing lower for a second straight trading day and the Nasdaq Composite taking a breather for the first in four. Despite the 0.03% dip to 3,909.88 in the S&P 500, the benchmark remains within six points of Monday’s record close. The tech-heavy Nasdaq slipped 0.25% to close at 13,972.53 after making a habit of setting new highs over the past week.
Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 62 points higher at 31,437.80, a new record, resuming its uptrend after breaking a six-day winning streak in Tuesday’s session. The blue-chip index has now had eight positive days in the past 10.
Cramer said the market is showing signs that “people are getting too greedy,” repeating is oft-used phrase that bullish and bearish investors make money, while pigs get slaughtered.
Gold price near steady, awaiting next catalyst
Gold futures prices are trading near unchanged in subdued early U.S. action Thursday. Silver prices are slightly higher. The two precious metals markets have stabilized this week, with traders still looking for the next significant fundamental event to break prices out of their near-term trading ranges.April gold futures were last $1.20 at $1,843.90 and March Comex silver was last up $0.122 at $27.20 an ounce.
Global stock markets were mostly higher overnight. U.S. stock indexes are pointed toward higher openings and near record highs when the New York day session begins. Declining Covid-19 infection rates in the U.S. amid ramped up vaccinations, as well as a new government pandemic relief package likely coming for Americans soon, have lifted trader and investor risk appetite recently.
The Chinese Lunar New Year holiday began today and markets in mainland China will be closed the next several days.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s speech to the Economic Club of New York Wednesday afternoon saw the central bank chief reiterate the Fed will maintain its highly accommodative monetary policy by keeping U.S. interest rates very low and continuing its bond-buying program (quantitative easing).
Meantime, the European Union Commission said Thursday the Euro zone economy is set to contract by 0.9% in the first quarter of this year, but then rebound in good fashion by the second half of the year. The more highly contagious strain of Covid-19 is expected to continue to constrict businesses and consumer activity in the Euro zone in the first quarter.
Platinum at over 6-year peak as markets bet on auto recovery
Platinum prices rose to their highest in more than six years on Thursday, extending a solid run on market hopes that an economic recovery would boost demand from the automobile sector.
Platinum rose 1.3% to $1,257.51 an ounce by 1043 GMT, having earlier jumped as much as 2.2% to its highest since January 2015. Palladium also firmed 0.2% to $2,361.04 per ounce, not far from a near three-week high hit on Wednesday.