Thursday, April 11, 2013

HIgher markets on improved jobless claims

Dow rose 56, advancers over decliners 3-2 & NAZ was up 3.  The MLP index fell 1+ to the 353s & the REIT index was up 2 to 299, another post recession high.  Junk bond funds were mixed & Treasuries gained.  Oil fell for the first time in 4 days as the International Energy Agency trimmed its forecasts for global oil demand while US inventories climbed to a 22-year high.  Gold was flattish.

AMJ (Alerian MLP Index tracking fund)

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Treasury yields:

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U.S. 10-year


CLK13.NYM...Crude Oil May 13...94.16 Down ...0.48  (0.5%)

GCJ13.CMX....Gold Apr 13.......1,560.00Up ...1.70 (0.1%)

Dropouts: Discouraged Americans leave labor force

Photo:   Yahoo

The number filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week.  Initial claims dropped 42,K to 346K, according to the Labor Dept, unwinding a jump in the prior week that appeared related to difficulties adjusting the data for seasonal variations (the largest weekly drop since mid-Nov).  Claims are now back at the lower end of their range for this year.  Data for the prior week show 3K more applications than previously reported.  The forecast called  for a decline to 365K last week.  Differences in the timing of Easter & school spring breaks, which likely threw off the model used to smooth the data for seasonal fluctuations, had been blamed for the spike in claims in the prior week.  The 4-week moving average increased 3K to 358K.  Despite the rise, the 4-week average stayed close to a level associated with payroll gains of about 150K per month, which is not enough to have s serious impact on reducing unemployment.

.S. Jobless Claims Fall Sharply Reuters

PC shipments plummeted in every region of the world in Q1 as buyers opted for smartphones & tablet computers & the newest operating system from Microsoft, a Dow stock, met with weak demand.  Global PC unit shipments fell 14% to 76M, a bigger drop than the 7.7% decline IDC had forecast, the market researcher said.  The slump was the steepest since IDC began tracking shipments in 1994.  Every PC maker except Lenovo experienced declines as businesses chose to install Win 7 on employees’ computers instead of the newer Win 8.  Consumers also shunned Windows 8 in favor of smartphones & tablets, which can handle many of the same tasks.  The last time worldwide PC shipments experienced a double-digit percentage decline was in 2001, when the market was roiled by the Sep 11 terrorist attacks & the impact of a decline in technology stocks.  “Windows 8 sold over 60 million licenses in its first few months, a strong start by any measure,” a spokesman for MSFT said.  “Along with our partners we continue to bring even more innovation to market across tablets and PCs.”  Gartner, another market-research firm, said PC shipments declined 11% in Q1 to 79M units as.quarterly global shipments fell below 80M for the first since 2009.  PC shipments fell in the US, Europe & Asia.  Lenovo was the only one of the top-5 that didn’t see a decline in worldwide or US shipments, IDC said.  Shipments at the 2nd-largest global PC supplier were unchanged from Q1 2012, giving it a current market share of 15%.  Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), another Dow stock, remained #1 worldwide with a market share of 16%, although unit shipments declined 24% from a year earlier.  Dell (DELL) was 3rd with 12% of the market after shipments declined 11%.  MSFT sank 1.48 (almost 5%), also hurt by a downgrade.

Microsoft Windows Weak Demand Spurs Worst PC Slump on Record

Microsoft (MSFT)

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US retailers are reporting a key revenue figure rose slightly in Mar, as shoppers held back on spending because of the cold weather across the nation, particularly in the Midwest & East Coast, & continued fears about the economy.  Overall, 14 retailers reported that revenue at stores open at least a year rose an average of 0.6%, according to Retail Metrics.  Including drugstores, the number was higher, up 1.5%.  "While clearly that's not a great number by any stretch, it could have been worse," said Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics.  "Wintry weather conditions persisted deep into March depressing spring apparel, home and garden, and seasonal merchandise sales."  He expects Apr to be stronger, as the weather improves & customers respond to strong fashion trends such as colorful jeans.  An earlier Easter, which meant one less selling day in Mar, will also help Apr results.

March retail revenue figure inches up AP

Macro economic data is giving mediocre results but that is not holding back the bulls.  Dow is getting close to 15K & it looks like nothing can stop that advance.  Meanwhile the budget debate drones on in DC with no resolution in sight.  The budget from the pres yesterday has plenty to anger both sides.  Federal budget cutbacks are continuing.  The euro zone is is stuck in a significant recession.  Financial pressure on the banks may be easing, but unemployment remains high & economic activity is drab.  Dow is not concerned with any of these problems.

Dow Jones Industrials

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