Weekly Jobless Claims Report Improves For A Third Straight Week

February 4, 2021 09:30 AM
Equity Index futures

Equity Index futures

Wednesday's Close

E-mini S&P 500 Futures (March): Settled at 3823.50, 5.25

E-mini Nasdaq-100 Futures (March): Settled at 13,194.25, down 54.75

U.S. equity benchmarks are stable and lurking about 1% below their record highs. January Nonfarm Payroll is due tomorrow and already in focus. Weekly Jobless Claims this morning for the last week of January improved for the 3rd week in a row. The better jobs picture, at least through the data, sets the economy and the new Biden administration on a collision course when it comes to fiscal stimulus. 

Republicans are pushing back on President Biden’s lauded $1.9 trillion stimulus package because Congress just passed a $900 billion spending bill in December. Of that December bill, much has yet to be spent and what has been spent is still percolating through the economy. Ultimately, an improving jobs landscape gives Republicans in Congress further weight in sidelining fresh fiscal stimulus.

Last week’s healthy correction came in part when Senator Chuck Schumer said that new stimulus measures wouldn’t be likely until mid-March. The delay may now be priced in, but if the economy truly improves between now and then, it won’t only be a delay, but also a bill of a lesser amount.

Another closely-watched data point is Unit Labor Costs. Today was the first look at Q4’s read, and it snapped back from a dismal Q3. What does this mean? Wages improved and set the stage for inflationary tailwinds. Furthermore, if we couple this with the drop in Nonfarm Productivity QoQ, we learn that not only are wages rising, but the amount of work for those wages is decreasing; these are signs of inflation.

Amid a deluge of earnings today, we’re most eager for Activision Blizzard and T-Mobile, 2 stocks owned by Blue Line Capital. PayPal was one of the biggest movers ahead of the open, up more than 5% after very strong results late yesterday, thanks to the addition of 16 million accounts and a 39% spike in volume (also owned by Blue Line Capital).

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