Initial Jobless Claims totaled 474k, 19k above estimates and up from 457k last week. Continuing claims, which capture 26 weeks of benefit collection, were 293k below forecasts and down by 303k from last week BUT Emergency Unemployment Compensation that runs past this rose by 327k. Extended Benefits that go up to 99 weeks in some states fell by 190k but its unclear whether that’s due to an exhaustion or because a job was found. Bottom line, while initial claims were above expectations, they are below 500k for a 3rd month and confirms still the slowdown in firings but hiring is still cloudy. The Oct Trade Deficit was almost $4b less than expected at $32.9b as exports rose by 2.6%, more than offsetting a .4% gain in imports which was suppressed by a reduction in petroleum imports. Ex petro, imports were up 2.9%. Overall, with the lower than expected #, Q4 GDP estimates may get raised by up to .3%.
Dubai, Greece and Spain are bouncing back. Dubai’s stock market jumped 7%, Greece by 3% and Spain by almost .5%. Dubai CDS are also lower as are Greek bond yields. The EU’s Junker said “I completely rule out a bankruptcy of the Greek state” and thus it “won’t be necessary” to bail them out. The BoE left rates unchanged as expected and made no change to their asset purchase plan. The BoKorea and Swiss NB also left rates unchanged and the SNB said they will stop buying corporate debt. Australia generated 31.2k jobs in Nov, well above estimates of 5k. Adjusting for population size to compare to the US, the figure is 436k and follows Canada’s adjusted job gain last week of 790k. The ECB’s Mersch said that deflation is “no more on our radar” but thinks the inflation outlook is balanced. Leaving no doubt the ECB will act when the time is right he said “inflation is the most unsocial of measures that could be imagined.”